the government launches an anti-shortage plan
Anti-infectives, anti-epileptics, antibiotics, anti-diabetics… Shortages in the supply of health products have become the daily scourge of pharmacists and hospital doctors. They have been steadily worsening in France for fifteen years. Faced with the situation, the government announced, on Friday 3 February, the launch of a steering committee on medicines, intended to lay the groundwork for a “new strategy for the prevention and management of shortages”.
Following a meeting with players in the health sector, including patient representatives, health professionals and drug manufacturers, this steering committee, under the aegis of the ministries of health and industry, has outlined a series of projects to be implemented over the coming months. They will form the framework of the future roadmap for the coming years to combat shortages of health products, which will be presented in June.
The phenomenon of shortages is not new. At the beginning of spring 2020, the first wave of Covid-19 had already highlighted the supply difficulties for certain drugs in the event of a crisis. Three years later, however, the situation has taken a critical turn. In 2022, more than 3,000 medicinal products of major therapeutic interest were reported as being out of stock or at risk of being out of stock by pharmaceutical companies. They were 1,504 in 2019.
“Securing the care of our fellow citizens”
The climax was reached this fall, when the pediatric forms of paracetamol and amoxicillin, two basic medicine cabinets among the most consumed in France, began to run out at the counter of pharmacies. After having put the extent of these shortages into perspective at the start of the fall, the government has redoubled its efforts this winter to remedy them. On Friday, he announced the lawsuit, “until the situation improves permanently”the crisis measures put in place for these two products, including in particular the rationing of stocks, the ban on exports by wholesalers and the use of magistral preparations by pharmacists.
Tensions over amoxicillin should also fade with the delivery by Biogaran and GSK, within a fortnight, of more than a million bottles of this antibiotic, manufactured at the Mayenne site, in the west of the hexagon. “As of next week, 750,000 boxes of amoxicillin will be delivered to pharmacies. In total, this additional supply represents the equivalent of one month’s consumption of this product.”explains Jérôme Wirotius, general manager of the Biogaran laboratory and vice-president of Gemme, the organization of generic drug manufacturers in France, who is delighted with the anti-shortage measures announced by the State.
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