Netherlands facing increasing medicine shortage

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Pills (Photo: MorgueFile / Wikimedia Commons). (Pills (Photo: MorgueFile / Wikimedia Commons))

Last year there were 769 incidents in the Netherlands in which a medicine was temporarily or permanently unavailable, an increase of 5 percent compared to the year before, according to pharmacists' organization KNMP. In 2017 the medicine shortage increased by 3 percent, the Telegraaf reports. 

"It is mopping with the tap open. Patient and pharmacist struggle with this enormously every day. The patient is regularly given another box because the pharmacist has to move to an alternative. KNMP chairman Gerben Klein Nulent said to the newspaper.

Prominent deficits in 2018 included the contraceptive pill, Parkinson's medicine levodopa/carbidopa, and refusal, which is used to treat alcohol addiction. According to the KNMP, there were also many shortages in antibiotics. 

The KNMP blames the rising shortages on the Netherlands' law on medicinal prices and Dutch health insurers' so-called preference policy, in which only one cheap medicine is reimbursed by the health insurer. This makes the Netherlands an unattractive market for pharmaceuticals. "They deliberately keep their stocks low and in the event of a hitch in the production process, shortages quickly arise."

According to KNMP, the shortages have been rising since 2010 and will continue to do so this year. 

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