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Europe plans further antibiotic shortage countermeasures

Published on 24/01/23 at 10:00am

With respiratory infections increasing, an ongoing cost of living crisis and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, officials throughout Europe are beginning to look into contingency plans to deal with the concerning shortages of certain antibiotics.

The shortages seem to have most significantly hit the liquid formulations of the drugs usually used to treat children, such as amoxicillin, with officials calling this an “ongoing public health concern”. This issue has also impacted the US, with the FDA warning of similar shortages of the oral solution.

To add to this situation, Europe is also experiencing some manufacturing delays and production capacity issues, making the shortages even more significant.

The Executive Steering Group on Shortages and Safety of Medicinal Products (MSSG) has been observing the shortages with hope to get ahead of the problem. Along with its government partners, MSSG is hoping to boost manufacturing capacity throughout Europe and therefore resolve the supply issues. Currently, MSSG estimates that the “situation will improve in the coming months.”

In a joint press release with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission, MSSG stated: “MSSG and the SPOC working party will continue to closely monitor the situation together with the European Commission and EU Member States. Based on current information from companies and stakeholders, it is expected that the situation will improve in the coming months. Patients and healthcare professionals are reminded that alternatives are available in case of shortages.

“It is important that antibiotics are used prudently to maintain their efficacy and avoid antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics, including amoxicillin, should only be prescribed to treat bacterial infections such as cold and flu, where they are not effective.”

 

Betsy Goodfellow


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