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Antibiotics: EU drug regulator must do more to tackle medicine shortages

London: The European Union drug regulator needs to do more to tackle shortages of some widely-used antibiotics in the region, according to a letter from a group of European patient and consumer organizations reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday.

The letter to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) comes as antibiotics, including amoxicillin and amoxicillin plus clavulanic acid, and particularly formulations for children, have been in short supply since last October.

The letter said measures like substituting amoxicillin with other antibiotics have squeezed supply of some other drugs and that the current steps in place to deal with the shortages have not contained the crisis.

The consortium asked the EMA to declare the current antibiotic shortage a “major event”, which would mean the regulator could coordinate action to address the shortfalls at a pan-European level and increase the reporting obligations of manufacturers.

The EMA and the European Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The letter was signed by 11 organizations, including the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) and the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI). (Reporting by Natalie Grover; Additional reporting by Maggie Fick; Editing by Josephine Mason)

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