In view of the lack of individual medicines, World Medical Association chief Montgomery is calling for an EU-wide medicine reserve. NRW and Bavaria have allowed the import of unauthorized antibiotics for children.
The drug shortage is alarming. That is why the former chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, calls for an EU-wide drug reserve. The bottlenecks have been increasing for more than ten years. “The reason is wrongly set economic incentives in the pharmaceutical industry,” he told the newspapers of the Funke Group.
In the case of mass products outside of patent protection, the margins are estimated to be small, according to Montgomery. “Big Pharma” is no longer interested in these drugs and is shifting production to low-wage countries such as China or India. “If a factory burns down there, a basic substance is missing or there are quality defects – suddenly there is a medicine missing all over the world.”
An EU reserve as “an obligation for the pharmaceutical industry, monitored and managed by the state and the medical profession” can be created immediately, he explained. Politicians must also bring production sites back to Europe with the right economic framework. Supply chains should be legally secured with multiple sources for medicines.
lack of supply with antibiotic juices for children
Last week, paediatricians from several European countries wrote a fire letter to their health ministers denouncing the lack of pediatric medicines. The health of children and young people is “endangered across Europe”. The Federal Ministry of Health recently officially declared a shortage of antibiotic juices for children. This means that the federal states can temporarily deviate from the requirements of the Medicines Act in individual cases.
NRW and Bavaria react to shortages
Bavaria has already reacted: It wants to temporarily allow the import of antibiotic juices for children that are not approved in Germany. “The governments should use a new general decree to temporarily allow the import of drugs that are not actually approved or registered here,” said Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) at the weekend.
North Rhine-Westphalia also wants to remedy the situation quickly. It is now important to act quickly and consistently to improve the supply situation, the NRW Ministry for Labour, Health and Social Affairs said on Sunday when asked WDR with. Like Bavaria, NRW has also taken all the necessary steps to quickly remedy the situation, it said.
After determining the supply shortage, the competent authorities in the country could allow a pharmacy or a pharmaceutical wholesaler to deviate from the provisions of the Medicines Act for a limited period of time.
New law to eliminate delivery bottlenecks
Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) already praised the decision from Bavaria as correct. “We have created the conditions for such unbureaucratic actions by countries against antibiotic supply bottlenecks. They should be used,” he wrote on Twitter.
The minister referred to a law already passed by the cabinet that is intended to help resolve the supply bottlenecks. According to this, manufacturers should be able to charge higher prices for children’s medicines so that deliveries to Germany become more attractive. Storage requirements are to be introduced for some medicines and manufacturers who produce in Europe are to be given greater consideration.
The board of directors of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, called on Lauterbach to act. Binding delivery quantities would have to be agreed for medicines, he warned: “The current national and European measures are not sufficient to ensure patient care.”
Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this article, Montgomery was named World Medical Association chief and chair of the World Medical Association. However, he has recently left this position. The text has been corrected accordingly.
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