The European Union establishes its first list of life-saving medicines to combat shortages

Antibiotics, anesthetics and even paracetamol appear on this inventory established by the European Medicines Agency. Since the Covid crisis, European countries have faced numerous supply problems.


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To combat drug shortages, the EU has published a list to anticipate crises and stock problems.  (JEAN-MARC BARRERE / HANS LUCAS / AFP)

Medicines considered vital for the Old Continent, the European Medicines Agency published, on Tuesday, December 12, a first list of more than 200 medicines considered essential for the functioning of the health systems of member countries. This measure aims to avoid shortages within European countries. Last winter, the EU faced medicine shortages due to several factors, including a surge in demand and supply chain issues.

Paracetamol, morphine, antibiotics, antiarrhythmics, hormonal preparations, anesthetics, anti-infectives, insulin, antiepileptics, respiratory system drugs: this list, the first of its kind on a European scale, covers a wide range of therapeutic areas, vaccines and treatments for rare diseases.

Medicines identified as critical will be subject to specific measures, such as taking into account security of supply in calls for tender or recommendations to diversify suppliers. To appear in this European directory, the medicine must be considered critical in more than a third of the Member States.

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