the roadmap promised by the government is long overdue

It is the compass that everyone – pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesale distributors, healthcare professionals, patients – await with a certain impatience. While, on the ground, tensions and disruptions in the supply of medicines are increasing, the government is slow to unveil its roadmap to combat shortages.

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The fault is partly the waltz of the health ministers. On July 20, the former tenant of Avenue de Ségur, François Braun, was to make the presentation to industry players. But the ministerial reshuffle, which resulted in his departure the same day, put the announcement back on the shelf. Rebelote six months later. On December 19, the planned presentation was once again canceled while the minister in office, Aurélien Rousseau, had just submitted his resignation. Since then, there has been radio silence at the ministry.

A setback which is not without causing some problems, because “many responses to prevent these shortages need to be implemented by public authorities. As long as we do not have overall management within the framework of a roadmap, it is difficult to move forward on a certain number of parts of this file”, observes Thomas Borel, scientific director at LEEM, the professional organization of pharmaceutical manufacturers. In this context, the union has made several proposals, including in particular the establishment of a platform which would allow each link in the drug chain (laboratories, wholesalers, pharmacists, doctors) to have information on the stocks available in real time.

However, the problem of shortages has not completely stopped. In 2023, several measures have been put in place by the government. In June, a list of 450 medicines considered essential was established, of which 147 to date, according to the general management of the companies, have been deemed “priority for relocation”.

“Chaotic situation”

A winter plan, intended to combat seasonal shortages, has also been put in place, under the aegis of the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM). Objective: to avoid shortages in the 2022-2023 season, where amoxicillin and paracetamol were severely lacking due to a lack of anticipation by laboratories. With still timid results.

Although paracetamol no longer poses a problem, difficulties persist with many antibiotics, including pediatric amoxicillin. “The tensions are linked to deregulation of the distribution system. There are in fact the necessary quantities among manufacturers, but due to the shortage of last year, some have adopted behaviors which have resulted in this chaotic situation of unavailability of products for patients.explains Christelle Ratignier-Carbonneil, general director of the ANSM.

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