26 European nations face acute scarcity of antibiotics, medicines to treat colds and flu - GulfToday

26 European nations face acute scarcity of antibiotics, medicines to treat colds and flu


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Europe is suffering from a serious shortage of medicines, which is becoming a major headache for many people living in the continent. Twenty-six European countries are having an acute scarcity of antibiotics.

This was revealed by EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, according to Reuters.

The EU is experiencing a shortage of antibiotics, like amoxicillin, medicines to relieve colds, the flu, and other respiratory infections, and paediatric treatments.

The top health official wants access to all patients in need and stave off any hiccups in supplies of such medicines in the EU.

The unusually large breakout of respiratory infections this winter and inadequate production levels are to be blamed for the scarcity.


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To tackle this problem, the European Commission plans to revise in March a pharmaceutical law.

The proposed changes include stronger obligations for the supply of medicines and earlier notifications of shortages, Kyriakides said.

European Union lawmakers feel the shortages have to be tackled on a war footing and rightaway. But experts say shortages of drugs such as antibiotics could keep happening in Europe due to problems in the sector such as the shifting of manufacturing of generic drugs to Asia.

The top official said EU is sparing no efforts in using all regulatory options and talking to companies to increase production and mitigate shortages.

She added that the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), the EU health crisis body established during the COVID-19 pandemic, could obtain medicines on behalf of member countries and pare shortfall drastically.

The idea is to see that children in particular do not suffer. Some of the measures the EU is planning include selling the generic equivalent or a similar medicine, or in some countries maybe even changing some formulations, like converting tablets to syrup, so children are able to take them.

Euro News quotes a senior official at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as saying that people should not start stockpiling medicines.

The availability of paediatric formulations is generally lower than the ordinary tablets that you can swallow. With infections targeting children the pressure on the availability for the paediatric formulations is higher than for adult formulas, she said.

According to the Medicine Shortages Index, the number of out-of-stock medicines in Ireland reached 224 this week, mainly due to Irish drug manufacturers selling their products abroad for more money.



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