Dutch medicine shortage to reach record high in 2023, pharmacists warn

Dutch medicine shortage to reach record high in 2023, pharmacists warn

The Dutch Association of Pharmacists (KNMP) has warned that the Netherlands will see the current shortage of medicines rise to record levels in 2023, reporting that 1.179 shortages have already been recorded so far this year. 

The Netherlands records 1.179 drug shortages

Since last year, countries around the world - including the Netherlands - have faced a growing shortage of various medicines. While last year, a shortage of 1.514 drugs was recorded nationally, the KNMP warns that the figure for 2023 is already on track to be significantly higher.

In the first six months of this year, the KNMP has already recorded a shortage of 1.179 different medications. This means that over 1.100 medications were unavailable for a period of at least two weeks so far this year.

“We hoped - to be honest against our better judgement - that we had reached the absolute limit last year,” KNMP chair Aris Prins says in a statement. “But [now] it's significantly worse. We can't go on like this. Pharmacists are busy every day for countless patient groups who are the victims of this.”

KNMP warns Dutch healthcare system is under pressure 

According to the organisation, these shortages are due to a variety of issues throughout the production and distribution process and affect hundreds of thousands of patients in the Netherlands alone. “Drug shortages are an issue all over the world. We know the lists of European shortages,” Prins explains. “But we are seeing more and more resources that are not available in the Netherlands alone.”

So far, the shortages have largely affected antibiotics and medications for patients suffering from heart conditions or gout. “An example is allopurinol,” Prins says, “which is available in the countries around us, and here only to a very limited extent. This affects a group of 150.000 gout patients.”

The high figures already seen this year have resulted in the KNMP sounding the alarm, warning that the quality of the Dutch healthcare system is under increasing pressure as a result of constant logistical issues. “It is important that all relevant parties in the Netherlands make decisions about solutions with the utmost urgency. It's all taking too long,” Prins emphasises.

Thumb: Bjoern Wylezich via

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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