Health. The government announces measures to anticipate drug shortages

Health.  The government announces measures to anticipate drug shortages

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Drug supply tensions have increased in recent years throughout Europe. In 2023, nearly 5,000 reports and risks of stock shortages have been identified by the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM), which carries out increased monitoring of certain key winter medications: antibiotics, paracetamol, corticosteroids.

Relocation Efforts

These difficulties led to the publication last year of a list of 450 medicines considered essential and a relocation plan to France for some of them.

The new three-year plan to combat shortages (2024-2027) provides for “reinforced monitoring by health authorities” of the availability of these priority drugs.

Efforts to relocalize and increase production capacity target a sub-list of “147 strategic drugs”, those for which France depends the most on extra-European imports, according to this “road map” extending that of 2019- 2022.

“The best way not to run out of something is to produce it at home, in France and in Europe,” declared the Minister Delegate in charge of Industry, Roland Lescureafter a meeting with stakeholders in the drug chain.

“By May, we will announce the number and identity of the factories that we will help” to increase their production capacity in France, he added.

“Non-prescription order”

To replace unavailable medications, pharmacists will be able to rely on “equivalence tables”.

Work is being carried out so “that the doctor, on his prescription software, can actually know that this or that product is not available on the day he wants to prescribe it”, indicated the Minister in charge of Health, Catherine Vautrin. This will allow him “to either prescribe something else, or to work on the dosage he is going to prescribe,” she added. This pilot program is planned for 2025.

In terms of the proper use of the medication, the emphasis will be on adapting the packaging to the duration of treatment and on the use of a “prescription not to prescribe antibiotics”, a document that a doctor can fill out to explain to his patient why he does not prescribe antibiotics.

Catherine Vautrin and Roland Lescure were to go late in the evening to Mayenne (Mayenne), to the site of the British pharmaceutical group GSK dedicated to the production of amoxicillin in all its forms.

Drug shortages are due to several reasons, including increased global demand, insufficient production capacity and sales prices of certain treatments considered unattractive by laboratories.

In the fall, a charter of good practices was signed between the manufacturers and sellers of medicines reimbursed in France.

Calls to release stocks were made to manufacturers and wholesalers and pharmacists were asked not to overstock on their side.

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