The news website said that in July alone, cancer patients were unable to access treatment in Italy, and shortages of neurological drugs reached unprecedented proportions in Poland.
Meanwhile, the total number of unavailable drugs in Belgium reached a new high, according to the website.
France has joined the Netherlands in pushing for an EU-wide approach to tackling drug shortages, politico.eu reported.
It said pharmacists and health campaign groups have been warning for years of worsening shortages, partly linked to increased dependency on a limited number of overseas suppliers.
The website quoted Charlotte Roffiaen from patient organisation France Assos Santé as saying that the problem was no longer limited to “smaller countries with less attractive markets like Romania, Bulgaria, Eastern European countries,” but affects “all countries — even the wealthiest ones.”
One explanation for Europe’s rising shortages is that drugs and their ingredients are increasingly manufactured by a handful of companies, most of which are located in Asia, politico.eu reported.
Drugs already in warehouses: Polish officials
Poland’s Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski said on Thursday that drugs that had been temporarily missing from the Polish market were already in warehouses and being sent to pharmacies, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
Meanwhile, the head of the Polish parliament’s health committee, Tomasz Latos, said on Friday that the problem of non-availability of drugs in the country would be resolved within hours.
Latos, an MP for Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, told Polish Radio that a special hotline would be launched for patients on Monday to get help in case of problems.
Tomasz Latos Photo: Wojciech Kusiński/Polish Radio
Latos also said that problems with the availability of medicines had been reported throughout Europe.
He added that deliveries had been halted due to factors including work stoppages in Chinese factories that produce pharmaceutical ingredients.
Source, politico.eu, IAR