The Ministry of Health mentioned a list of 280 "essential" drugs in shortage, but resupply tensions would affect 3,000 medical products. What drugs are affected?
[Updated May 12, 2023 at 3:16 p.m.] The shortage of medicines has been confirmed in France and the problem could be more widespread than it seems. “A little over 3,000 drugs are in short supply,” counted the centrist senator from Calvados Sonia de La Provôté, at the microphone of Franceinfo on May 12. A significant number that does not take into account all the other treatments that are "in tension" specified the elected official and president of the Senate Committee of Inquiry into the shortage of drugs and the choices of the pharmaceutical industry.
The parliamentarian's finding suggests that the difficulty of supply could soon concern more products than the 280 drugs facing a shortage and listed by the Minister of Health, François Braun. If this list, mentioned on May 10 by the minister on the CNews set, still needs to be “a little adjusted”, the gap between the two assessments is considerable. The fact remains that both are among the hard-to-access drugs amoxicillin, paracetamol or even antiepileptics.
The list of 280 drugs in shortage established by the ministry has not yet been published. The site of the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM), however, provides a list of medical products whose stocks and replenishment are currently facing tensions. Among them are:
Senator Sonia de La Provôté said the shortage affects all sectors "from pediatrics to antibiotics". Worse, the current shortages maintain a vicious circle and could lead to wider tensions on the supply of therapeutic treatments because of a "domino effect". "We have substituted other antibiotics as we go along and it is the whole chain of antibiotics in the end, in all therapeutic classes, which is currently in short supply", she regretted. If antibiotics are particularly and for several months in the grip of shortages, the problem begins to affect other even more important drugs:
The creation of a list of medicines in shortage is the first step in a larger project of the government which has shown for several months, even since the Covid-19 pandemic, its desire to find solutions to avoid future shortages of medicines. . The next step will be to establish for each of these drugs "all the manufacturing points, that is to say from the active ingredient [...] to the bottling, the tableting, to really control any the production chain", had detailed on BFMTV / RMC the Minister of Health a few weeks ago. He then explained that the objective was above all to "ensure that these essential drugs are always available".
According to Senator Sonia de La Provôté, the problem comes from the relocation of the manufacture of raw materials abroad. In his eyes, the solution is "to reconstitute the entire drug value chain", but the objective is not achievable for the thousands of drugs in shortage: "It must be done for a 'short list' of essential drugs for which we must be able to respond to the slightest alert".