European Medicines Shortages Research Network - addressing supply problems to patients (Medicines Shortages)
Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.
The problems created by supply shortages of medicines have been widely reported by healthcare professionals and patients over recent years, and acknowledged at the European level by the European Medicines Agency and European Commission. The cited causes are multifaceted ranging from production disruptions, natural disasters, discontinuations as well as difficulties created by various legal, trade and pricing frameworks.
Healthcare professionals require access to reliable and up-to-date information about the unavailability of a medicine in order that they can treat the patient in the best way possible. The significant patient impact because of the lack of medication, in terms of safety and management of their condition, will be researched. In addition the forced substitution to an alternative product or requirement to produce a medicine may increase the risk of error, stress and overall cost to the healthcare system.
According to the largest pan-European survey of healthcare professionals yet conducted on the topic, the products mainly affected in the European hospital sector are antimicrobials and oncology products used for large populations.
This Action will encourage systematic sharing of information and research about past, ongoing and future shortages of medicines and nutritional products. The Action aims to respond to clinical, financial and quality of life interests, to achieve analytical clarity on disruption causes, to simulate decision making in medicines production and trade, to highlight restrictive legal and economic frameworks, to disclose disincentives in the supply chain such as conflicts of interest or problematic cost-benefit ratios, and to reflect on best coping practices