Pharmacists need authority to manage global medicine shortages

Mr Lars-Åke Söderlund, chair of FIP’s Medicines Shortages Policy Committee and president of FIP’s Community Pharmacy Section.


Pharmacists should be given greater authority to solve medicines shortages when they occur and governments should, as soon as possible, instruct medicines regulatory authorities to investigate and develop proposals giving such extended powers to pharmacists. This is one of a number of recommendations in a new Statement of Policy on Medicines Shortages published today by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).


Other recommendations in the policy statement include:


  • The global use of a single definition of medicines shortages and a set of harmonised criteria to identify and monitor shortages at the national, regional and international level to enhance understanding of the problem globally through more accurate, reliable and comparable data.
  • Development of a global process to determine the list of critical or vulnerable products.
  • That each country establishes a publicly accessible means of providing information on medicine shortages.
  • That all procurers of medicines move towards active procurement processes that assure the continuity of supply of quality medicines.


“The causes of shortages are several, multidimensional and sometimes unpredictable. In the context of a complex global supply chain and a globalised market, there is a growing concern among all stakeholders — including patients, healthcare professionals, governmental organisations, pharmaceutical wholesalers and the pharmaceutical industry — about the future of medicines supplies worldwide,” said Mr Lars-Åke Söderlund, chair of FIP’s Medicines Shortages Policy Committee and president of FIP’s Community Pharmacy Section.


“There is evidence that shortages are worsening with time, creating ever more difficulties for healthcare professionals, and compromising patient safety. Shortages have been reported in countries of all income levels, occurring across all healthcare settings and involving essential life-saving medicines, very commonly used medicines and both high- and low-price medicines. In this policy statement, FIP and its member organisations make four commitments, including to develop evidence-based guidelines and competency development programmes targeting pharmacists’ roles in mitigating the impact of medicines shortages.”


You can read the full policy here.



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PIP editor

A pharmacist led training provider.

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