Medicine shortages in the Netherlands expected to double this year
The Minister for Medical Care, Bruno Bruins, expects the number of reports of medicine shortages to double compared to last year. This is partially due to increasing awareness in the Netherlands of the existing shortage hotlines.
Medicine shortages in the Netherlands
This year, between January and August, there were 2.044 reports of impending or actual shortages. During the same period in 2018, there were only 1.065 reports of this kind and 1.390 for the whole of last year. Because of the shortages, patients have to make do with either no medicine or less effective ones.
The cause of the shortages? Production delays in countries like India and China, amongst other things. According to Bruins, the Netherlands has become too dependent on these countries. He feels that the Netherlands, along with other EU Member States, should produce their own components for medicine if necessary. Moreover, he wants larger reserves of medicines to be built so that temporary deficits can be better compensated for.
Some of the medicines affected are, for example, drugs for Parkinson's, thyroid problems, nasal cream with antibiotics and contraceptives.
In other medical news, Bruins has said that pharmacists are allowed to reproduce expensive medicines in certain cases. During an episode of WNL Op Zondag, the minister declared that: “When insane amounts of money are being asked for medicine without good reasoning, I feel that there should be enough leeway to make the medication ourselves”.
Bruins emphasised that this should be the case, “in a certain setting and for a certain group of patients.” He also added that if manufacturers have invested a lot of money in a medicine they should be open about this.