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Medicines shortages

EU must investigate medicines shortages say hospital pharmacists

European hospital pharmacists are demanding that the EU launches an investigation into medicines shortages.

In a position paper on medicines shortages, the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) says that the European Commission should “urgently commence an investigation of the medicines shortage problem” asking the Commission to look at the causes of shortages and to propose solutions to address them.

EAHP members agreed to the new position paper on medicines shortages — revised from 2012 and published on 20 June 2019 — at the EAHP’s 49th General Assembly held in Edinburgh on 15 and 16 June 2019.

The paper says closer collaboration of healthcare professionals, wholesalers, manufacturers and national authorities is required to “jointly minimise the impact that medicines shortages have on patients”.

The EAHP also wants national governments to evaluate how they deal with medicines shortages, establish whether their management systems are “fit for purpose” and to “rectify shortcomings”.

The paper said “appropriate staffing levels” were needed to lower the impact of medicines shortages, adding that national authorities and medicines suppliers must have a better exchange of information.

The EAHP also said it has carried out three different surveys in 2013, 2014 and 2018 looking at medicines shortages, which showed their “far reaching consequences”.

The percentage of hospital pharmacists reporting shortages as an issue for delivering the best patient care has seen a “significant increase” over the past two years, the EAHP said.

More than 90% of survey respondents in 2018 highlighted that medicines shortages were a problem in their hospital pharmacy.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206708

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