2018 Medicines Shortage Survey

EAHP's 2018 Survey on Medicines Shortages to improve patient outcomes

On 7 November 2018, EAHP released the results of its 2018 Medicines Shortages Survey. The launch event of the report summarising the findings from the largest pan-Europe survey on medicines supply shortages took place at the Press Club in Brussels.

The results of the 2018 Medicines Shortages Survey underline that medicines shortages remain a major problem for patients in European hospitals. In a number of ways the issues have become more troublesome since the publication of EAHP’s last survey results in 2014. In particular the percentage of hospital pharmacists reporting shortages to be an issue in terms of delivering the best care to patients has seen a significant increase with 91.8% respondents, compared to 86.2% in 2014, stressing that medicines shortages are a problem faced in their hospital pharmacy.

Many hospital pharmacists highlighted the need for more timely and accurate information on medicines shortages. EAHP is consequently calling on all supply chain actors, the European Commission and national governments to help improve the collection of information about medicines shortages in Europe. Only a comprehensive communication strategy on shortages targeting all European states will ensure that all supply chain actors, including hospital pharmacists, receive adequate information on the shortage of medicines in their countries.

Given that medicines shortages continued to increase over the past four years an inquiry at European level into the primary causes is also needed. After the release of the 2014 results, EAHP already called on the European Commission to conduct a high level investigation to better understand the precise factors that create cross border medicines shortages and to examine its role in bringing nations together to tackle this issue. Given the increase in respondents reporting that shortages are a significant problem in terms of delivering the best care to patients, EAHP urges the European Commission to commit to work on identifying the root causes of shortages to improve the outcomes for patients in the EU.

Efforts to address the medicines shortages problem in Europe should be made now. We sincerely hope that other stakeholders will follow our call to action in order to help us to the secure much needed solutions to tackle this growing issue in the interest of patients.

EAHP thanks Amgen for supporting the realisation of this report and Keele University for the analysis of the survey results.

Results from the 2018 Medicines Shortages Survey

The report is available HERE

The information of the report is also summarised for patients (leaflet is available HERE), other healthcare professionals (leaflet is available HERE), hospital managers (leaflet is available HERE), government officials (leaflet is available HERE) and industry (leaflet is available HERE).

Country specific information was prepared for France (leaflet is available HERE), Germany (leaflet is available HERE), Italy (leaflet is available HERE), Spain (leaflet is available HERE),  the United Kingdom (leaflet is available HERE),  Greece (leaflet is available HERE), Romanian (leaflet is available HERE) and Ireland (leaflet is available HERE)

Background information on the 2018 Medicines Shortages Survey

From 19th March 2018 to 11th June 2018, the EAHP collected information from European hospital pharmacists on the shortage situation in their respective countries. The 2018 Survey on Medicines Shortages aims at providing a clearer picture on the impact of medicines shortages on hospital pharmacists. To this end the survey investigated:

  • the current nature of medicines shortages problems in Europe, including their prevalence;
  • the most common types of shortages;
  • their impact on patient care and hospital pharmacy services;
  • existing national mechanisms for dealing with or monitoring shortages;
  • how hospital pharmacists typically manage the problems shortages cause; and,
  • hospital pharmacist views on proposed policy solutions.

EAHP thanks all European hospital pharmacists that participated in the 2018 survey activity. Your input will help improve patient outcomes!

Last update: 10 January 2019