ESMO drives EU-level action to tackle shortages of essential medicines

  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) has published recommendations aimed at preventing shortages of cancer drugs.

The recommendations include the introduction of legislation for early notification requirements for medicines shortages and the establishment of European strategic plans.

Incentives are recommended for production infrastructure improvements, including financial incentives to address the economic causes of manufacturing issues. Incentives should also be considered for suppliers to remain in these markets, the recommendations state.

It is recommended that catalogues of shortages are developed based on a common minimum set of data requirements, including a common EU definition of medicines shortages, and national essential medicines lists should be developed based on the World Health Organization's Model List of Essential Medicines.

It is further recommended that procurement models should be designed to prevent medicines shortages, including tender-cycle harmonisation.

ESMO President Josep Tabernero commented: “Shortages negatively impact both the health of European citizens and the sustainability of the healthcare systems. The situation is dramatically impacting on cancer patients, as the medicines affected by shortages have few proven effective alternatives or no alternative at all. That’s why ESMO is proposing a course of action with key steps to be taken in the near future.”