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European pediatricians warn of impending medication shortage

April 29, 2023

The chief of the German Professional Association of Pediatricians and Adolescents is one of the co-signatories of a letter to health ministers including Karl Lauterbach. An "urgent" solution is required.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach
The pediatricians have written to health ministers across Europe, including Germany's Karl LauterbachImage: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Thomas Fischbach, president of the German federation of doctors for children and adolescents, the BKVJ, is among several European physicians warning of a "considerable shortage" of medicines for children that is liable to get worse later in the year as the colder weather returns.

"Autumn is not far away. We will again face a supply shortage that could be even worse than last time," Fischbach told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ). 

Germany and other European countries suffered similar problems last winter. 

Fischbach is one of the co-signatories of an open letter of the pediatricians from Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland to the health ministers of these countries, such as Karl Lauterbach in Berlin, urging them to try to avoid a repeat of the phenomenon.

The doctors warn there is a lack of fever and pain medication in child-friendly dosage forms while penicillin is also currently not available. 

Call to promote or subsidize domestic production

"The health of our children and adolescents is at risk throughout Europe due to the lack of medicines. A fast, reliable and lasting solution is urgently needed," the German newspaper quotes from the letter.

Doctors are "greatly concerned due to the considerable shortage of medicines for the treatment of children and adolescents", the letter continues.

"We see the politicians as having a responsibility to ensure sufficient production and stockpiling of important pediatric primary care medicines in Europe."

Fischbach said that the domestic production of medicines for children should be promoted in Germany, to again make it sufficiently attractive for manufacturers to produce the medicines locally.

Germany is in the process of pushing through legislation aiming to ease long-standing issues in drug supply chains. However, pharmacists and drugmakers have warned that those plans do not go far enough.

jsi/msh (AFP, dpa)

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