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Medicines shortages

FIP reviews global systems for reporting medicines shortages

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has carried out a review of how six different countries report medicines shortages in an attempt to spread best practice. 

FIP, the global federation of national associations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, hopes the results of its review of processes and procedures will help towards creating a new single global system for detecting and understanding the causes behind medicines shortages worldwide. 

Luc Besançon, chief executive of FIP, says: “Pharmacists are increasingly concerned about the future of medicines supplies worldwide and FIP has long been advocating for this pressing issue to be addressed. Any medicines shortages reporting system should fit into a national strategy on access to medicines information.” 

The report, ‘Reporting Medicines shortages: Models and tactical options,’ published on 16 May 2017, compares and contrasts eight different systems for reporting medicines shortages adopted by Australia, Canada, Netherlands, South Africa, Slovakia and the United States. Both Slovakia and the United States rely on two separate systems. 

It looks at how data are managed and shared, who has ownership of it, who reports medicines shortages and how they are reported. 

The review found all the systems were different, with some countries restricting data access to only healthcare professionals. In some cases pharmacists are kept up to date via their dispensing computer software, it points out. 

The FIP review follows a call by the World Health Organization that its member states should work together in the battle against medicines shortages and move towards a single global reporting system. 

The FIP represents 139 national pharmacy organisations and speaks on behalf of 3 million pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists around the world.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202793

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  • Luc Besancon, chief executive of FIP

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