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FIP publishes overview of models for reporting medicines shortages

The Hague, 16 May 2017 — A new report from the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), released today, provides an overview of some of the systems used to report medicines shortages around the world. The report, “Reporting medicines shortages: Models and tactical options”, points out that shortages have worsened and is intended to support the implementation of the World Health Assembly Resolution on “Addressing the global shortage of medicines and vaccines” adopted in May 2016. 

“Medicines shortages are putting safety and lives at risk. This report aims to guide the development or improvement of reporting systems through the sharing of best practices,” said Mr Andy Gray, co-editor of the report. 

The report reviews eight medicines shortages reporting systems from six countries (Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Slovakia, South Africa and the USA), comparing a range of features such as the scope of the shortages listed, the criteria applied (such as the predicted duration of a shortage) and the sources of information used. It lists different ways in which information on shortages is currently being gathered and organised and describes a variety of approaches and considerations for such reporting systems. In a number of countries, shortage reporting systems are being implemented by national associations of pharmacists.

“Pharmacists are increasingly concerned about the future of medicines supplies worldwide and FIP has long been advocating for this pressing issue to be addressed. Any medicines shortages reporting system should fit into a national strategy on access to medicines information. This new report follows the FIP document ‘Medicines information: Strategic development’, published earlier this year, which calls on countries to incorporate medicines information, including on shortages, into their national medicines policies,” said FIP Chief Executive Officer Mr Luc Besançon.