News2023.05.05 13:16

Amid drug shortages, Lithuanian minister proposes EU common stocks

BNS 2023.05.05 13:16

As Europe faces a shortage of medicines, Lithuanian Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys says the EU should collectively keep stocks of crucial medications to resolve the problem.

“This problem, as I said, is pressing for all EU countries, especially when one third of countries have problems with five to six hundred different types of medicines, especially antibiotics. And, of course, our own national institutions are trying to resolve the problem and find new ways,” he said ahead of an informal meeting of EU health ministers in Stockholm on Friday.

“But, as we can see, this is an EU-wide problem and we should address it and perhaps invest more in new laboratories and new stocks in Europe. Perhaps we need to have not only national stocks but also common EU stocks,” Dulkys noted.

The minister said demand for some medicines had dropped significantly during the pandemic, but went up sharply again once the pandemic receded, which is why production cannot keep pace.

According to data from the Health Ministry, over 900 notifications of temporary or total suspension of supply of medicines were recorded in 2019, and the number rose to around 1,100 in 2022. Dulkys says “there will be even more” shortages this year.

Dulkys earlier stressed that the European Commission was committed to presenting its proposals on how to tackle the problem.

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