Medicine shortage: – The stock of medicines is now being expanded


In the future, the pharmaceutical industry will need to significantly increase its stocks of crucial medicines. More than 700 relevant medicines will be stored for four months’ needs across Austria. A corresponding regulation on stockpiling was sent to the EU today, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) announced on Tuesday afternoon. An active ingredients warehouse was also set up so that medicines could be manufactured in pharmacies.

Before the commitment to the pharmaceutical industry can come into effect, it must be brought to the attention of the European Commission. However, the relevant medicines must already be stored and available to the population for the next winter season, the Ministry of Health explains.

The supply would last four months
The warehouse for critical medicines mainly includes common antibiotics, but also fever-reducing and strong painkillers, reports Andreas Windischbauer, chairman of the Association of Austrian Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (PHAGO). There will be “a lot of packaging” of more than 700 products for four months; he could not give exact figures, he said after a smoke-filled tour of the warehouse of a pharmaceutical wholesaler in Vienna-Simmering.

Paracetamol in 25 kilo drums
In addition to ready-made medicines, paracetamol is now also available in 25 kilo drums. Overall, however, there are “quantities in the warehouse of active ingredients that are not extremely large,” Windischbauer said. Even in pharmacies, there is only as much as they can handle, “no excess quantities,” he emphasized. “The warehouse of active ingredients is like insurance. We do everything we can to ensure that we do not need it.” But if there is a shortage of certain medicines, they can be made from the active ingredients in the pharmacy, such as medicines for children.

“competitive situation”
The EU is in a “competitive situation” with other regions, Rauch explains. There is criticism of Austria’s high dependence on Russian gas. Europe is even more dependent on other countries for individual active ingredients for medicines: up to 90 percent. Austria “couldn’t wait for a European solution,” Rauch emphasized. Parents should not wait to get antibiotic juice for their children again.

The rate for medicinal preparations based on active ingredients in pharmacies will be increased
In phases of high demand, pharmacies can access the stored active ingredients and ensure that the population is supplied with home-made medicines, the Minister of Health explains. The work pace for the so-called magisterial preparation was increased by an average of 50 percent as of January 1. According to Rauch, the higher personnel and production costs are “reimbursed in the best possible way and preparation for work is simplified”.

“Situation remains difficult”
“I can guarantee that the situation will remain difficult,” Windischbauer said when asked about European medicine supply bottlenecks last winter. He was referring to the continued high dependence on Asia. That is why the focus is primarily on stocking active ingredients and transparency. “In the long term, a European solution is needed that protects all Member States equally. I will continue to demand this in Brussels,” Rauch emphasized.

Source: Krone


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