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Medicines shortages
  1. Aida Batista1,
  2. Nenad Miljković2,
  3. Piera Polidori3,
  4. Stephanie Kohl4
  1. 1 Pharmacy, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho, EPE, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
  2. 2 Hospital Pharmacy, Institute of Orthopaedic Surgery "Banjica", Belgrade, Serbia
  3. 3 Director of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, IRCCS, ISMETT, Palermo, Italy
  4. 4 Policy & Advocacy, European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, Brussels, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Ms Stephanie Kohl, Policy & Advocacy, European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, Brussels 1200, Belgium; Stephanie.Kohl{at}

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The problems caused by medicines shortages are serious, threaten the well-being of patients and have far reaching consequences for European health systems. Consequently, in 2013 the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) started to analyse in more detail the challenge posed by medicines shortages. Two pan-European surveys on medicines shortages in the hospital sector were conducted by the EAHP in 20141 and 20182 to investigate the prevalence and nature of shortages as well as the direct impact on patient care. The percentage of hospital pharmacists reporting shortages, particularly in terms of delivering the best care to patients, saw a significant increase in 2018 with 91.8% of respondents—compared with 86.2% in 2014—stressing that medicines shortages constitute a problem in their hospital pharmacy.3 Such reports are alarming and demonstrate the urgent need to draft and implement corrective policies at all decision-making and professional levels across Europe. Multi-stakeholder action is urgently needed because only joint efforts can help diminish the impact of medicines shortages on patients. Consequently,

EAHP advises national governments to evaluate if their shortages measures and management systems are fit for purpose and to rectify shortcomings where and when needed.

EAHP urges national governments and healthcare organisations to evoke appropriate staffing levels in order to lower the impact that medicines shortages currently have on the overall patient services provided by hospital pharmacists.

EAHP calls on the European Commission to urgently commence an investigation of the medicines shortage problem looking at the causal factors and propose solutions that will help alleviate or resolve shortages.

EAHP appeals for improved information exchange between authorities and supply chain actors as well as best practice sharing and implementation support on shortage management strategies between relevant national regulatory bodies to support patient …

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  • Collaborators Delegates of the 49th EAHP General Assembly.

  • Contributors The position paper was approved and adopted by the Delegates of the 49th EAHP General Assembly in June 2019.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.