Medicine shortages in Europe – EPHA urges for action


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Medicine shortage is a serious issue in Europe with devastating effects on patient health. It requires more than ever urgent and coordinated response by EU Member States and support from EU initiatives.

This is in short the main message brought forward by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), in a position paper and press release published last 28 April 2020. EPHA’s paper outlines the causes, magnitude and impact of medicines shortages in Europe and makes tangible recommendations to tackle this pressing cross-border health threat, which has become even more serious with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

EPHA recommends to…

  1. Strengthen the EU pharmaceutical legislative framework to improve notification of medicines shortages and reinforce obligations of the market Authorisation holders (MAHs) and wholesalers to supply the market.
  2. Require all medicines marketed in more than one EU Member State to have accompanying European shortage management and prevention plans.
  3. Create early warning systems on medicine shortage at both national and European level.
  4. Publish new EU guidance elaborating on cases when free movement of medicines may be restricted in order to prevent and address medicine shortages.
  5. Publish new EU guidance on prudent procurement practices to help prevent occurrence of shortages in generic medicines.
  6. Set up a permanent system for monitoring of medicine shortages in the EU.
  7. Assess the impact of shortages on patient health, treatment and care in the EU.
  8. Develop a comprehensive EU strategy on medicine shortages with the active contribution of the European Parliament.
  9. Launch an EU Joint Action focusing on the prevention of, and solutions to, medicine shortages.

Access EPHA’s position paper and press statement here

For more information on AGE work with EPHA, please contact Julia Wadoux,

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