Sometimes there is a lack of a breast cancer drug, then again paracetamol or antibiotic juices for children. Why is it that medicines are not available – and what could help?
Ulrike Holzgrabe is the right address for anyone who wants to find out the reasons for the supply bottlenecks for medicines. She can explain them, and she also does away with the naïve idea that production can be brought back from Asia to Europe. “It’s not that simple,” says Holzgrabe, who is a senior professor of pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry at the University of Würzburg. “It’s not like there’s a company somewhere in China that makes the active ingredient,” says the expert. The matter is much more complex, and the supply chains have many more links than the public debate in Germany suggests. “Even the synthesis of an active ingredient has many steps,” explains Holzgrabe. There can be bottlenecks at every step.