Switzerland is running out of a number frequently used medicines such as paracetamol, aspirin, child cough sirup, self-injecting adrenaline pens and some antibiotics, amoxicilline for example, reported RTS.
Switzerland’s Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES) has described the situation as problematic and is looking at measures to alleviate the problem.
The situation is not new and has been getting worse for several years, says FONES. In 2022, 150 requests were made to dip into the country’s medicine reserves, a record number.
Hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and pharmacies have all been affected, according to the Federal Council.
According to FONES there are several reasons for the shortages. The shortage of antibiotics is global, something made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of lockdowns on production, particularly in China.
A growing number of producers withdrawing from the market is another factor, which is especially problematic for products where the producer has a monopoly position.
For certain kinds of products, such as antibiotics and insulin, Switzerland is entirely dependent on foreign suppliers, said FONES. Over recent years, globalisation has led to production consolidation at fewer sites. At the same time, Switzerland has reduced stocks to save money. In addition, supply chains for therapeutic medicines have become vulnerable, it said.
A task force has been created to address the problem with a focus on procedures that can be applied quickly and produce fast results. Long term solutions are also being investigated. These include the possibility of earlier detection of issues and ways to react faster.