Shortage of medicines in pharmacies: which way forward?

Every day, 5% of medicines ordered by the French pharmacies are out of stock, and for half of them, this situation lasts more than four days. The Pharmacy Academy recommends a series of measures.

The National Academy of Pharmacy published Wednesday, March 20, a series of recommendations to minimize stock-outs which are daily confronted pharmacies.

A difficulty related to raw materials

14% of drug stock-outs have originated a supply problem in raw materials, a difficult situation to manage, while 60-80% of these active ingredients are manufactured outside the European Union, mainly in India and Asia.

Therefore, the Academy proposes to establish at the European authorities for periodic statements of potential shortages and relocation needs. It advocates to define a "long-term relocation policy specifically for the active substances for which a single global manufacturer has been identified."

In addition, the Academy wishes to establish a list of active substances in the public domain, the shortage may cause public health problems. The Academy is also expressed about the establishment of a European directory identifying active ingredients manufacturing sites, review sites and historical events.

Provide stocks

The Academy of Pharmacy advocates to ban the export of a stock of medicines "necessary for national needs" and "without therapeutic equivalent".

In September 2012, the government issued a decree on drug supply mentioning the obligation to "meet the needs of patients in France," but without going further. It envisaged the creation of emergency call centers in the load of the laboratories.

A real problem for the hospital

This supply disruption as regards hospital services. To address this shortage, the Academy "promotes national or European production of these active ingredients even through the narrow market of orphan diseases."

It advocates facilitate the provision for hospital pharmacies "pharmaceutical grade raw materials for preparations made in them."

5% of the drugs ordered are out every day

50% of ruptures exceed four days, an everyday situation difficult to manage for the community pharmacist. A series of measures recommended by the Academy could relieve their daily lives.

About supply disruptions:

  • Give more visibility to the emergency numbers of laboratories to ensure emergency repairs;
  • "Promoting the establishment of an information exchange platform within the pharmaceutical distribution".

For stock-outs at the manufacturer:

  • More accessible to pharmacists and prescribers information made available by the National Security Agency of the drug;
  • Establish local structures Exchange doctors / pharmacists / health insurance to share the most appropriate therapeutic alternatives to encourage the continuation of medical treatment in the best conditions.

In Quebec, a law authorizes "the substitution of a drug prescribed for breach complete supply in Qu├ębec by another drug in the same therapeutic subclass". The National Academy of Pharmacy wants a reflection inspired by this model be initiated.

Source: "Drugs: Ruptures stocks, supply disruptions," National Academy of Pharmacy, March 20, 2013.

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