Press Release – PGEU Medicine Shortages Survey 2019 Results

Each year PGEU conducts a survey among its membership to map the impact of medicine shortages across Europe from the community pharmacists’ perspective. The 2019 PGEU Medicine Shortages Survey Results cover the responses from 24 European countries.

Main findings of the survey:

  1. All responding countries experienced medicine shortages in community pharmacies in the past 12 months, and the vast majority (87%) of respondents indicated that the situation got worse compared to 2018.

  2. All classes of medicines are affected by medicine shortages in community pharmacies.

  3. In the majority of responding countries (67%), over 200 medicines were listed as in short supply at the time of completing the survey.

  4. All responding countries indicated that they believe medicine shortages cause distress and inconvenience to patients. Interruption of treatments (75% of countries), increased copayments as a result of more expensive/non-reimbursed alternatives (58%) and suboptimal treatment/inferior efficacy (42%) are also perceived as negative consequences of medicine shortages on patients.

  5. Medicine shortages are believed to affect community pharmacy businesses in most countries by reduced patient trust (92% of countries), financial loss due to time invested in mitigating shortages (82%) and reduced employee satisfaction (79%).

  6. Across European countries, strong differences exist in terms of legal solutions community pharmacists can offer in case of a shortage. Generic substitution (79 % of countries), sourcing the same medicine from alternative authorised sources (such as other pharmacies) (63%), and importing the medicine from a country where it is available (46%) are the solutions which can be provided in most of the European countries.

  7. The time pharmacy staff has to spent on dealing with medicine shortages has increased from 5,6 hours per week (2018) to 6,6 hours per week on average.

  8. 25% of responding countries indicated that there is still no reporting system for shortages in place which can be used by community pharmacists in their country, despite that pharmacists often experience or foresee supply difficulties before the industry or wholesalers are aware that there is, or will be, a problem.

  9. Community pharmacists receive the needed information on shortages in most countries from wholesalers (71%), medicines agencies (67%) and pharmacy organisations (42%).

PR PGEU publishes results of Medicine Shortages Survey 2019