By Feiza Ben Mohamed
PARIS (AA) – France's medicine stocks, including antibiotics, remain under strain, with plenty of winter time still in store.
The shortage started in early winter, and the government since had to ban online purchases of the fever and pain reliever paracetamol (acetaminophen) until Jan. 31.
The shortage is affecting the entire continent due to the production system.
Many medicines are produced in China or in India – which made it harder to provide them to European countries, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement in January, the Permanent Committee of European Doctors (CPME) alerted authorities about the shortage, and asked the EU Commission to take urgent measures.
"Most EU countries are reporting shortages of commonly used medicines, such as paracetamol and the antibiotic amoxicillin," the CPME reported, and also requested the European Medicines Agency give more competency to boost preparedness and handle crisis management.
The permanent committee also stressed the need to implement "resilient supply chains."
"Doctors should be informed proactively about possible shortages and have access to up-to-date information," said Dr. Jacqueline Rossant-Lumbroso, the CPME vice-president.
- Stresed patients, parents
Dr. Christiaan Keijzer, head of the committee, added that doctors might struggle to prescribe the right treatment to their patients due to the shortages – which causes stress for some patients.
Nadege, a 31-year-old mother of two from southern France, told Anadolu that her son had bronchiolitis twice this winter and that she struggled to find the pediatric version of the medicine Doliprane.
"After asking all of the pharmacies nearby, I contacted a friend who lives 400 kilometers (250 miles) from here and asked her to send the medicine by post," Nadege explained.
The mother said she now understands the difference before and after the shortage, and says in the past doctors used to be more reckless about the quantities.
Michelle Tordjmannm, a pharmacy dispenser in Paris, also noticed a change in the doctors' habits.
"We can see that they limit themselves as much as possible, particularly when it comes to paracetamol," she said.
In a magazine article, Dr. Joel Ankri in September said that those stock problems exist in many countries, adding that the supply chain systems are the one to blame.
The French government accused the pharmaceutical companies of not accurately forecasting the possible demand for winter.
Health Minister Francois Braun last month told broadcaster France 2 that pharmacies are struggling to provide medicines due to rising demand. He explained that the demand for the pain reliever paracetamol rose 13% amid the flu epidemic, something the producing companies did not foresee.
*Writing by Nur Asena Erturk in Ankara