Medicines shortages are a major threat to patient care and need urgent attention, the EAHP stresses in a statement.
President Roberto Frontini said he has ‘great fears for patient safety’ if the problem worsens.
The EAHP’s recent General Assembly prioritised the issue for discussion and resolved that solutions to the shortages include:
– greater prescriber awareness of shortage difficulties and willingness to discuss the matter with hospital pharmacists
– vigilance by hospital pharmacists and pro-active sharing of information about the problem with health professional colleagues
– use of quotas by wholesalers to ensure fair distribution when demands exceed supply
– adequate notice and alerts by manufacturers, and the maintenance of buffer stocks, and
– rigorous action by regulatory agencies including monitoring of shortages and best practice sharing
EAHP’s statement also called for the European Commission to commence an investigation of the medicines shortage problem looking at:
– the issue of free movement of goods and whether or not this is a factor in undermining national medicines supply chains, and if so, how the conflict can best be resolved at the European level
– the extent to which European guidelines on Good Distribution Practice of Medicinal Products for Human Use are being adhered to; and
– the extent to which this guideline may need to be updated in view of the shortage problem.
Commenting on the statement, Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the EAHP, said: “I have great fears for patient safety if the medicines shortage problem in Europe continues or worsens.
“Medicines are not simple items of commerce, they are an essential component of patient care, and in the hospital sector they must be administered to the patient in a timely manner.
“Furthermore, managing medicines shortages and ensuring continuity of supply can also divert significant amounts of a hospital pharmacist’s time and attention from other tasks important in the provision of high quality, safe and efficacious care.
“I hope EAHP’s statement can be a helpful step in gaining a consensus among stakeholders about the solutions that are required, and in bringing an early end to this concerning problem.”