Supply of medicines: New law against delivery bottlenecks

Status: 11/24/2022 12:58 p.m

Reports of supply bottlenecks for important medicines have been piling up for months. Federal Minister of Health Lauterbach has now announced that ARD Capital Studio a new law to prevent this.

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach has opposite ARD Capital Studio announced a new law to solve the supply bottlenecks in the active ingredients for medicines. “The problem is serious and has gotten worse. That can no longer be accepted,” said Lauterbach in an interview. That’s why he wants to draw up a bill. According to Lauterbach, the project is “urgent”.

Manufacturers, pharmacists and doctors have been complaining about bottlenecks in important medicines for months. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArm) is currently listing around 300 reports of delivery bottlenecks. There are still alternatives for many scarce medicines – but often with active ingredients that have more interactions with other medicines.

Procurement law leads to problems

For example, fever syrups for children, cough medicine, antihypertensives, breast cancer medication or gastric acid blockers are currently hard to come by. A spokesman for the Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists (ABDA) recently spoke of a “major challenge” that could hardly be solved in the foreseeable future. At the moment nobody is “unsupplied”, but: “The drug therapy that will be possible with the drugs that are still available can also lead to a loss of quality.”

The problem: Due to the previous public procurement law, the health insurance companies are forced to buy medicines and active ingredients where they are cheapest, explains Lauterbach. That is why the manufacturers of medicines are often heavily dependent on active ingredient suppliers from China. If there are production and delivery bottlenecks there, for example because of manufacturing problems, contamination or production stops, urgently needed active ingredients are missing in this country.

Do not endanger the supply of the population

With the new law, the Federal Minister of Health now wants to oblige the health insurance companies to also buy from manufacturers who produce with more expensive active ingredients. “The solution lies in the diversification of purchases,” says Lauterbach. If the manufacturer with the cheap active ingredient then fails, the cash registers could be purchased from companies in other countries. But now the procurement law has to be changed.

Lauterbach hopes that the planned law will get the currently tense situation in the supply of medicines under control. According to the SPD minister, this could lead to higher costs, but: “It cannot be that we try to save a few cents on the active ingredients, but then risk supplying the population with it.”

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