Pharmacy supply bottlenecks become a problem

Author: Thomas Wandler
Date: 25.09.2019

Pharmacist day calls for action

The lack of sought-after medicines is becoming more and more common in pharmacies. “Supply bottlenecks unfortunately occur more and more frequently and are a great annoyance for pharmacies and their patients”, said Mathias Arnold, vice-president of the Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Apothekerverbände (ABDA). Furthermore he continues: “Important pain killers, blood pressure reducers, stomach acid blockers or antidepressants are often not available”. In order to put an end to the horrors of supply bottlenecks, manufacturers must disclose their cards. In addition, interest in the production of important substances should be increased.

The amount of medicines not present has increased to approximately nine million packs (approximately two percent of the medicines agreed with the statutory health insurance through discount contracts), compared to five million in 2016 and 2017.

“If a particular drug is not available, the pharmacist must obtain a drug with the same active ingredient or contact the doctor for a new prescription for another active ingredient,” commented ABDA vice president Arnold. Since no patient is allowed to leave the pharmacy without medication, PTAs (Pharmaceutical Technical Assistants) and pharmacists have to sacrifice about ten percent of their working time to cope with delivery bottlenecks.

This topic will also be addressed at the German Pharmacists’ Day on Wednesday. Possible problems would be e.g. too little storage space, because manufacturers only prepare the preparations on order. But also large distances in the delivery routes, for example when medicines are imported from India or Bangladesh, contribute to this. Therefore the pharmacist day requests that manufacturers pre-produce at least the medicines, on which cannot be waived, in a quantity, which is enough for two months.