AESGP Position Paper on Shortages of medicinal products for citizens in Europe
Pharmaceuticals are an essential part of health systems, mostly because they are the most affordable and accessible healthcare technology. A global and reliable supply chain ensures the continuous availability of medicinal products to citizens throughout the geography of the European Union as well as globally.
Self-care plays a crucial role in healthcare, particularly during the pandemic, by helping to reduce the burden on healthcare systems. Non-prescription medicines and other self-care products were essential to avoid unnecessary visits to healthcare facilities, preventing illness or helping address minor ailments during confinement as well as the symptomatic relief of viral infections.
Self-care products’ shortages are rare and have little to no impact on citizens due to the alternatives delivered by a competitive market. Proactive reporting of medicine shortages should be based on a risk assessment from a patient access perspective.
Self-care products have a fit regulatory framework and a resilient global supply chain, planned to face adversity and ensure continuity, as shown during the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. Onshoring of manufacturing sites raises sustainability concerns. Consider role of EU trade agreements in the context of active product ingredients and other raw materials.
In case of exceptional events, unforeseen circumstances can challenge the EU preparedness for supply disruptions. Leadership, crisis management plans and coordinated actions are necessary, including flexibility of all actors involved, to prevent and mitigate supply disruptions within the EU, from internal or external origin.