The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has published headline results of a recent survey that reveals 99% of responding hospital pharmacists say they have experienced difficulties with medicines shortages in the past year.
With over 300 respondents from 27 countries, the survey also uncovered that 63% of hospital pharmacists report medicines shortages to be a weekly, sometimes daily, occurrence. Seventy-seven percent consider that the problem has become worse in the past year.
Announcing the results at a reception in the European Parliament on access to medicines, EAHP President Dr Roberto Frontini said:
“These headline results confirm what I have increasingly heard from our members across Europe: that the shortages problem is widespread, doesn’t respect national borders, and urgently requires attention if patient care and health services are not to suffer.
Managing shortages and trying to source supply distracts pharmacists from other core tasks, places burden on support staff and can increase stress and workload in the pharmacy environment with consequent impacts on the risk of error. Substitution of medicines in case of shortage of formulary drugs can also confuse doctors and nurses, further raising risks to patient safety.
I want to take this opportunity at the European Parliament to call on all partners to work together in identifying and enacting solutions. This includes industry and supply chain actors, regulatory authorities, and all health professions involved in medicines. I also believe there is a role for the European Commission in bringing Governments and others together on this issue.”