National Pharmacy Association calls for urgent action in light of Europe-wide report on medicines shortages 

28 Jan 2020

Medicines shortages are a growing problem across Europe, not just in the UK, according to a new report by the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU).

Read the report here.

Pharmacy associations from all the countries in the PGEU survey said they had experienced medicines shortages in 2019.  Of the 24 countries, 21 said the situation had got worse in the last 12 months.  In the majority of counties, over 200 medicines were listed as being in short supply at the time of completing the survey, which was carried out in November and December 2019.  The most widespread shortages were medications affecting the central nervous system, respiratory medicines and cardiovascular medicines.

The shortages were reported to have caused distress and sometimes serious harm.

NPA Policy Manager Helga Mangion said: “This data is further evidence of a widespread problem in this country and across Europe.

“Because of heroic efforts by pharmacists, patients usually get their medicines when and where they need them, but longstanding faults in the medicines supply chain too often leave patients waiting. It’s time for urgent action, to reduce the risk of harm and to allow pharmacists to spend more time with patients instead of hunting for stock.”

PGEU’s survey also identified a gap in information, tools and legal solutions available to community pharmacists in many European countries for providing solutions to patients in case of a shortage.

The NPA is part of the UK’s delegation to PGEU, alongside the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.