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The major issue of medicine shortages is far from solved

"The European pharmaceutical industry and regulators are worried about an imminent worsening of the persistent problem of shortages of medicines in the region" (Re.PharmTech). Such a situation, especially when it concerns the access to oncology medicines, is completely unacceptable. To date, the public authorities have been unable to solve the problem for good. The European Medicine Agency produces a catalogue of known shortages which are mainly caused by manufacturing issues. This was indeed an excellent initiative. But this strategy has proved inadequate. The primary reason for the fail is that in the EU most medicine shortages are dealt with at national level. For its part, the pharmaceutical industry points out that the pricing policies imposed by States authorities are too stringent to generate sufficient profitability. This is why some drugs are no longer available. At the same time, all governments share one common goal: reducing the costs of the health care system. The trouble is that -very often- in the case of a shortage in the supply of medicine products, a more costly alternative must be used. There have been a number of proposals in recent years to address this concern. These measures included providing adequate notice and alert of manufacturing problems and informations about the expected duration of the shortage. But the conclusion is plain: the anticipated results have not, to date, become apparents.

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