The lack of antibiotic juices for children is worrying parents and frustrating pharmacies. "The pharmacy teams now have to pull the cart out of the dirt again for politics and, based on the decisions of the authorities, procure alternative medicines from abroad in order to be able to supply patients quickly," said the President of the Federal Union of German Pharmacists' Associations (ABDA). Gabriele Regina Overwiening, the German Press Agency.
The head of the North Rhine Pharmacists' Association, Thomas Preis, called for the creation of a "national reserve of antibiotics" in the "Rheinische Post". More and more federal states are now relaxing the rules for children's antibiotic juices so that the supply is not jeopardized. Rhineland-Palatinate, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania also announced that they would allow unauthorized antibiotic juices to be imported from abroad. Other countries had already announced this.
This is possible because the Ministry of Health officially identified a shortage of antibiotic juices for children last week. This allows certain rules of the strict drug law to be circumvented for a limited period of time. For example, medicines could be issued that do not have German-language packaging or medicines with an older version of the package insert that does not yet contain the latest information on the medicine.
For example, antibiotics are prescribed for potentially life-threatening bacterial infections and conditions such as pneumonia.
However, it is questionable whether the situation will noticeably ease as a result of the emergency measures. North Rhine-Westphalia's Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) dampened expectations. "We are dealing with a global shortage of antibiotics," he said. This also applies to the basic substances from which pharmacists can produce juices. In the Ministry of Social Affairs in Saxony, on the other hand, it was assumed that the drugs would be available "in a few weeks".
Bavaria's Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) told the broadcaster "Welt" about the idea of a national reserve of antibiotics that it should be checked in principle in any case. "We definitely have to do everything that helps in a non-bureaucratic and pragmatic way." A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Health referred in Berlin to the law against drug shortages introduced by the federal government. This also provides for an obligation to store certain medicines for several months. The law still has to be passed by the Bundestag.
There is widespread agreement that drug production should be brought back to Europe. "We are dependent on China," said Holetschek. The topic of medication in your own country is systemically relevant. If production from countries like China and India is to be brought back to Europe, more money would have to be spent, said Laumann. This will result in higher health insurance premiums. The pharmacies are also in favor of producing more in Europe again, "in order to avoid overly complex and therefore easily vulnerable supply chains from the Far East, at least for important medicines," said ABDA President Overwiening.
In the short term, pharmacies would need the greatest possible scope for decision-making in order to exchange medicines that are in stock for medicines that are not available, without additional bureaucratic documentation effort or subsequent reductions in bills from health insurance companies. "On the contrary: For the high work and time expenditure of at least six hours per week, the pharmacies need a bottleneck compensation of 21 euros per non-deliverable preparation."