Drugs: One in Four French People has Already Faced a Shortage

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The association France Assos Health challenges the public authorities and implicates manufacturers on drug shortages. (© AdobeStock / Illustration)

According to a study unveiled by France Assos Santé, 25% of French people have already been refused the delivery of drugs or a vaccine, with sometimes serious consequences.

It is a ”  potential threat to public health, ” denounces France Assos Santé . The body representing users of the health system reveals Thursday, January 17 that one in four French has already faced a shortage of drugs . 

These disturbing results come from a survey conducted by the BVA institute (1) . For example, 25% of respondents have already been refused a drug or vaccine because of shortage. This rate rises to 31% for people with long-term illness (ALD), France Assos Santé alert.

“Beyond the obvious risk to the individual health of individuals, these shortages of vaccines pose a potential threat to public health,” said Alain-Michel Ceretti, President of France Assos Santé. 

Drugs against hypertension (13%) and those against neurological disorders (7%) are also more strongly affected by these stockouts. 

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The industrialists questioned

France Assos Santé points the finger at the responsibility of industrialists (as 56% of French according to the BVA study), calling into question “contestable financial strategies”, “a disengagement of certain drugs” and “a concentration of production sites”. In support of its accusations, the association mentions in particular the shortage in 2017 of pneumococcal vaccine following the decision taken by the Sanofi Pasteur and MSD Vaccines laboratories to stop marketing the PNEUMO 23 vaccine. 

It also recalls that adult monovalent vaccines against hepatitis B experienced supply tensions from January 2017 to March 2018 due to an incident on a single production line supplying all of Europe (GSK laboratory).

“We ask for clear and transparent information on the causes of these disruptions, the shortage management plans (PGPs) put in place, as well as the sanctions imposed in case of failure to notify and implement these plans.”

Public authorities arrested

Alain-Michel Ceretti calls on the public authorities and calls for a harmonisation of rules on a European scale . “We ask the public authorities and the regulatory authorities to do their job, and finally that the public policies are harmonised on a European scale”.

The association points out that “corrective measures have been announced for a long time”, such as the creation of security stocks, back-up sites, or the search for alternative suppliers, “but none has actually been implemented successfully. “.

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(1) Survey conducted by the BVA institute by telephone from 29 November to 1 st December 2018 with a sample of 955 people representative of the French population. 

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