Addressing Ireland’s Medicine Shortages: The EU’s List of Critical Medicines – Deirdre Clune MEP
In response to the worsening medicine shortages in Ireland, Deirdre Clune, MEP for Ireland South, has welcomed the recently published list of critical medicines by the European Medicines Agency.
This first list of critical medicines marks a significant step towards alleviating the ongoing challenges of medicine shortages across the European Union. It follows the European Commission’s Pharmaceutical Reform Package, which outlines measures designed to better equip Europe in its anticipation and mitigation of drug shortages, and, ultimately, to ensure that medicines are available for patients.
As a member of the Parliament’s Subcommittee on Public Health, Clune highlighted the potential impact of the EU list in addressing the medicine shortage crisis. “This list serves as a comprehensive resource to help avoid potential shortages of essential medicines in the EU. It includes medicines deemed vital for public health, as well as those for which a shortage could have severe consequences for our health systems.”
“The inclusion of a medicine on this list doesn’t predict imminent shortages – it is the first step to ensuring the security of its supply. By identifying and prioritising essential medicines, we can work towards guaranteeing uninterrupted access to treatments for patients,” she explained of its purpose.
“On this list are over 200 active substances, with an array of generic medicines, such as antibiotics like amoxicillin, painkillers including paracetamol and morphine, and insulin to treat diabetes. It also includes vaccines for measles, hepatitis B and tetanus.”
With a surge in medicine shortages in Ireland over the past year, the colder months are expected to exacerbate the situation as more medicines are needed, leading concerned citizens to stockpile antibiotics.
“This situation underscores the urgency of addressing medicine shortages nationally and at the European level. Collaboration among member states, pharmaceutical companies, and regulatory authorities is crucial. If we can facilitate early detection of potential shortages, we can enable swift and targeted interventions to maintain a stable supply of essential medicines.”
“But it’s also important that patients use medicines responsibly – take antibiotics only when needed, and get vaccinated when possible in order to boost your protection against illnesses,” Clune concluded.