Drug shortages at pharmacies in Netherlands hit record high in 2022

Average duration of drug shortage last year was 91 days, says pharmacist organization KNMP

Beyza Binnur Dönmez  | 16.01.2023 - Update : 16.01.2023
Drug shortages at pharmacies in Netherlands hit record high in 2022


The number of drug shortages at pharmacies in the Netherlands in 2022 rose 50% from the previous year to a record high, according to a recent report by the pharmacist organization KNMP.

The report, published Saturday, showed that 1,514 shortages were recorded in the past year compared to 1,007 in 2021.

The average duration of a drug shortage in 2022 was 91 days and 57% of the shortages were resolved within 10 weeks, it said.

According to the report, notable drug shortages in 2022 included methylphenidate tablets, benzbromarone tablets, oxytocin injection fluid, clobazam tablets and chloramphenicol eye drops.

In order to limit medicine shortages as much as possible, a policy rule came into effect on Jan. 1 this year obliging wholesalers and marketing authorization holders to maintain "sufficient stocks" of medicines.

The rule stipulates that marketing authorization holders must keep an emergency stock of six weeks of medicines, while for wholesalers this is two weeks from Jan. 1 and ultimately four weeks from July 1.

"There is hope, now that the government is demanding that additional stocks be built up. It is important that everyone adheres to this," said Aris Prins, chairman of the KNMP. "This is absolutely necessary because patients, pharmacists and other care providers experience an extraordinary amount of trouble every day."

Underscoring the Netherlands' dependence on distant countries such as China and India for drugs, Prins said "we are vulnerable."​​​​​​​

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