The European associations of drug manufacturers, parallel distributors, pharmaceutical wholesalers and pharmacists welcome the pan-European efforts of member states’ ministries of health, the European Medicines Agency, the Council of Europe and the European Commission to tackle medicine shortages. Those involved in the medicines supply chain believe that a long-term solution to this problem depends on the united action of stakeholders. We therefore call on all stakeholders to actively engage in the initiatives organised by governments and regulatory institutions.

Ahead of the Bulgarian presidency meeting “Health as the real winner: A conference on options for delivering better medicines for all” on 6 March in Sofia, stakeholders in the medicines supply chain are calling for a more intensive discussion on medicines shortages. Stakeholders want to make the case to health ministers that there is collaboration on this key issue to address the impact of shortages. In addition, the stakeholders in the supply chain firmly believe that their input, perspectives and experiences on the issue of shortages are the way to go to reach the most informed and credible conclusions.

Drug supply chain partners established an informal working group in 2015 and published a set of recommendations in early 2017 calling for greater transparency and availability of drug shortage data, early detection and assessment of potential shortages and consistency of reporting, improved access to information for all actors in the chain, optimized data infrastructure and collaborative stakeholder management processes.

The associations’ statement is part of their broader commitment to address the growing problem of shortages in the European Union, which has a significant impact on patients, healthcare professionals, healthcare systems, manufacturers and distributors.