Friday, May 12, 2023, Sonia de La Provôté, president of the senatorial commission of inquiry into the shortage of drugs, declared “more than 3,000 drugs are in shortage” on franceinfo. According to Senator Union Centriste du Calvados, all sectors are affected, “from pediatrics to antibiotics”. A magnitude that is explained by the shortage of amoxicillin.
The shortage of amoxicillin has consequences for all antibiotics because of a “domino effect”. “We have substituted other antibiotics as we go along and it is the whole chain of antibiotics in the end, in all therapeutic classes, which is currently in short supply”, explained the senator. More alarming: “cancer drugs and antiepileptics” are also involved. However, if the substitution by other drugs remains possible, “the therapeutic management is a little different. Sometimes we manage it well and sometimes we manage it badly or less well.”
Like supermarkets in 2022, with shortages of toilet paper, sunflower oil and mustard, medicines are experiencing many shortages. Several pharmacies are in tension or out of stock concerning innumerable drugs. In question, the Covid epidemic and the war in Ukraine, the main reasons for these shortages.
The lack of medicine continues this year 2023 and several references are difficult to find in pharmacies. This time, China, an essential producer of French drugs and other countries in the world, is experiencing many problems with the production and delivery of these molecular solutions, in particular due to the lack of raw materials. Other reasons also lead to the pessimism of specialists in the health sector.
The National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) communicates rather confusing figures. According to the institution, 1,602 stock-outs and 2,159 risks of stock-outs were declared by manufacturers for the year 2022. These statistics have doubled in one year, causing concern for many patients. And for good reason, these are not simple boxes of “Paracetamol”, but rather drugs “for which an interruption of treatment is likely to jeopardize the vital prognosis of patients in the short or medium term”, as explained by Le Parisian.
These proven tensions are due to “insufficient production capacity” in 27% of cases, and by an “increase in sales volume” for 20%. The various bronchiolitis, flu and Covid epidemics are among the reasons for these shortages.
The “quantitative quota” is one of the measures to combat this shortage of drugs. Pharmacies are supplied in limited quantities to allow fair distribution and to prevent the French from stocking up.
Among these medicines out of stock or in short supply, 8 of them are listed by the ANSM as being intended for seriously ill patients. Find them in our slideshow below.