February 27, 2013 | By Márcio Barra
From the news here at Portugal, I assumed that drug shortages were a mostly Portugal-centric affair, caused by parallel import (as Portugal has one of the lowest drug prices in Europe) and the severe debt crisis. However, from the few articles I’ve read here and there, this issue is threatening the whole EU, not because of parallel import situations (these are affecting mostly countries with reference pricing systems), but mostly of underfunded health systems and of the passing of the new falsified medicines directive (2011/62/EU) back in January, amongst other issues. This directive states that only countries that are part of a GMP compliant list (dubbed the white list) can import actives and other substances to Europe. India, China, America and Japan don’t subscribe to the white list, a rather dire situation seeing as most actives are sourced from these countries.
Now, the European association oh Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) published in February 21 results of a recent survey conducted in over 300 respondents from 27 countries, where it shows that 99% of the questioned hospital pharmacists experienced medicines shortages in 2012. The survey also uncovered that 63% of hospital pharmacists report medicines shortages to be a weekly, sometimes daily, occurrence.
On this topic, please stay tuned for my article on drug shortages in Portugal!
European association oh Hospital Pharmacists