Round table on "Availability of medicines in Austria" (1)
On November 27, 2018 a big "round table" took place on the topic of availability of medicines in Austria. At the top-class event, which was organised by the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG), more than 30 representatives of the Austrian pharmaceutical stakeholders discussed possible solutions to maintain, secure and further strengthen the supply situation in Austria for the benefit of patients against the background of the continuously increasing supply and supply shortages worldwide.
Representatives of the Hauptverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherungsträger, the Ärzte- und Apothekerkammer, the pharmaceutical wholesale trade, the Patientenanwaltschaft, the ministry of health, the interest groups of the pharmaceutical industry, the Austrian Economic Chambers as well as the scientific community were present at the round table. At the event, which was led by Dr. Christa Wirthumer-Hoche, procedural member of the BASG, two concrete solutions were discussed which could be incorporated in one of the next amendments to the Austrian Medicines Act (AMG).
There was broad consensus that global production and supply shortages could only be solved to a limited extent at national level. This makes it all the more important to quickly and reliably bring transparency into the current supply situation and to communicate existing or imminent supply shortages to the occupational groups involved at an early stage. In this way, countermeasures can be taken in good time in order to cushion the supply situation with individual measures as far as possible even in the event of long-term shortages and to set alternative supply steps in good time.
The reports on medicine shortages, which have so far been handled only incompletely and voluntarily by marketing authorisation holders in many cases, should therefore be subject to a reporting obligation in order to better plan the supply situation.
According to the plans, impending delivery difficulties which would last several weeks and would therefore no longer be bridgeable due to warehousing by wholesalers must be notified to the Austrian Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) as soon as possible in advance.
In the event of impending shortages, reference was also made to the authorisation granted to the Minister of Health to issue a decree, which may also include further measures in the event of a supply crisis triggered by a supply shortage, whereby an export ban on the quantities of pharmaceuticals still available in Austria may also be ordered as an adequate measure. As medicina products in Austria have often shown a tendency to be sold abroad, particularly in the case of Europe-wide or even worldwide supply shortages, and as a result have been partially withdrawn from the domestic population, these emergency measures can help to ensure the supply of the Austrian population on a case-by-case basis.
Dr. Christoph Baumgärtel, Phone: 050555/36004
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