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EPF joins efforts to combat supply shortages of medicines

EPF has signed the common position between Patients’, Consumers’ and Healthcare Professionals’ Organisations on supply shortages of medicines. At this stage the coalition is collecting signatures to prepare a meeting with the European Commission.Medicine shortage, regardless of the cause, may cause severe public health consequences as it affects the entire healthcare system, and uppermost, us, the patients. This is particularly alarming as the evidence of a growing problem of such shortage in Europe has grown starker in recent years. A European survey shows that 99% of pharmacists have been experiencing problems with medicines shortages, 63% informed the problem to be a weekly or daily occurrence and 73% said the problem has grown worse in the past year.

We, as patients, are at risk of suffering deterioration in their health status if we do not receive the medicine we are prescribed in a time into lower quality and safety of care, and unnecessary distress.

It can also trigger delays or discontinuation of both essential and recommended medical procedures and treatments, or encourage the omission of medicine doses, increase the risk of surgical interventions and/or operating times and negatively impact on patient recovery periods (shortages of anaesthetics). Moreover, medicines that have become unavailable are often substituted with less effective, inferior or more expensive alternatives.

“At EPF, we start from the premise that healthcare is accessible to patients when it is functionally available to the patient who needs it and when the cost is affordable. Medicinal products are considered accessible when they are available in the market, can be prescribed and distributed through reachable channels, and the cost is affordable. Such shortages are seriously undermining patients’ basic right to equitable access to high-quality healthcare”, commented Kaisa Immonen-Charalambous, EPF Senior Policy Advisor.

Such shortages are seriously attempting to patients' basic right to reach high-quality healthcare and this is why EPF called on decision-makers to support our Access Partnership in our Campaign Manifesto; to break down these barriers (link to our Campaign Video ).

Link to the Common Position Paper: http://www.eahp.eu/sites/default/files/files/European%20patient%20organisations%20position%20on%20shortages%20medicinal%20products.pdf

Contact: Kaisa Immonen-Charalambous, EPF Senior Policy Advisor, kaisa.immonen.charalambous@eu-patient.eu