During the 71st Congress in Hyderabad, India, the Council of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), the largest gathering of all FIP’s 130 member organisations from around the world and representing more than three million pharmacists, met to discuss the emergent issue of medicines shortages.
The Council unanimously concluded that medicines are not simple items of commerce; they are an essential component of patient care. Many countries are experiencing shortages of critical prescription medicines. This has given rise to disruption of treatments in conditions including, but not limited to, epilepsy, diabetes, asthma, infectious diseases and cancer, resulting in patients receiving less effective care or sometimes none at all.
Causes of these shortages are wide and varied, such as manufacturing problems, shortages of raw materials, evolving regulatory practices, and changing market incentives.
The Council of the International Pharmaceutical Federation calls on all stakeholders, including governments, pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy wholesalers, pharmaceutical purchasing agencies, medicine insurance plans, pharmaceutical regulators and the pharmacy profession to urgently evaluate these issues and work to ensure continuity of medication supply so that the appropriate treatment of patients can be initiated and maintained.