How the State wants to stop the shortage of medicines

She had been expected for several months. After two postponements, a consequence of the ministers’ waltz on Avenue de Ségur, the roadmap for 2024-2027, in order to guarantee the availability of medicines » And ensure industrial sovereignty in the longer term »was finally presented by the government on Wednesday February 21, during a meeting bringing together all the players in the sector.

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While reports of shortages and risks of supply disruptions recorded by the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) have increased by more than 30% in 2023, the urgency of stopping this phenomenon clearly accelerating in recent years was felt. The anti-shortage plan unveiled by the Minister of Labor and Health, Catherine Vautrin, with the Minister for Health, Frédéric Valletoux, and his industry counterpart, Roland Lescure, formulates in this sense a series of prescriptions to be administered without to wait for. It’s unbearable for a patient to have to go to several pharmacies to find their medication. »insisted Catherine Vautrin.

The list of so-called “essential” medicines, presented in June 2023, which to date brings together nearly 450 products considered essential for the health of French patients, will be the subject of particular attention. The roadmap therefore plans to increase their surveillance by the ANSM to prevent any unavailability of these treatments, in particular by strengthening the feedback and analysis of information provided by the various players in the sector (pharmaceutical laboratories, wholesalers-distributors, pharmacists…).

Increased vigilance

Until now, this data, scattered at different levels of the sector, and yet crucial to better anticipate the warning signals of a shortage, remained difficult to use by the medicine policeman due to the lack of a consolidated IT system. This emphasis on the availability and transparency of information is already reflected through the winter plan, in place since September 2023, and intended to prevent and limit tensions on certain widely consumed treatments (antibiotics, fever medications, corticosteroids, etc.) during this time of year.

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The plan will apply to all links in the chain. For doctors, this will involve easier access to drug databases available in real time. Better informed, practitioners will be able to avoid prescribing a treatment that is out of supply and adapt their prescriptions accordingly. Thanks to lists of equivalences drawn up by health authorities, pharmacists will be able to more easily identify the alternative treatment to substitute for the patient in the event of a missing medication.

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