The shortage of medicines nearly doubled in 2019, according to an inventory by the pharmacist organization KNMP.
KNMP speaks of a shortage when a medicine is not available nationwide for at least fourteen days. In 2018 there was a deficit 769 times, in 2019 there were 1492 deficits.
In particular, there was a shortage of creams, ointments and lotions for skin conditions, blood pressure lowers and medication for stomach complaints. These deficits caught the eye because they are used by a large group of patients.
The shortages are caused, among other things, by problems with production, distribution and quality. But, the KNMP argues, the Netherlands is also not a popular market for medicine producers because of low prices for manufacturers and relatively low population.
In November, Minister Bruno Bruins (Medical Care) announced that pharmacies and wholesalers should now build up larger stocks to prevent shortages. The pharmacy organization endorses that plan, but also wants more medication to be produced in Europe. According to the KNMP, we are now too dependent on drug production from distant countries such as China and India.