An impressive group of European Associations representing manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers of medicinal products, as well as pharmacists and hospitals, have all banded together to issue a joint statement with recommendations on tackling medicine shortages. It is an issue that they claim is growing across the EU, affects a wide range of medicines, and is caused by a multitude of factors.
The group, consisting of the Association of the European Self-Medication Industry, the European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies, the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, the European Industrial Pharmacists Group, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, the European Healthcare Distribution Association, Medicines for Europe and the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union, hope to tackle the issue from a number of angles, with the statement being just one.
They call primarily for reliable information; in the form of better availability of data, and earlier detection, on supply shortages, greater transparency and consistency of reporting, improved access to information for all parts of the supply chain with a call for a change to the information supply infrastructure, and a more collaborative approach to governance procedures.
The overall aim of the campaign is to diminish the impact of such supply issues on patients, and the plans involve improving the flow of useful and up-to-date information regarding drug supply, and helping all those involved in the supply and processing of pharmaceuticals to more accurately analyse demand and usage levels. They hope that this will aid in detecting issues at every point in the supply and distribution chain, from drug manufacturers through to pharmacists, surgeries and hospitals, ultimately minimising shortages.
The associations involved hope that with improved information and collaboration, those involved have a better chance of finding alternative supply channels, appropriate alternatives or replacement actions, with the aim that eventually, patient treatment will be consistent.