The medicine shortage app that forecasts when shortages will occur

Medicine Shortage - a growing problem

Medicine shortages are, and have become a complex global issue, creating difficulties for healthcare professionals with risks to patient safety.

Bottom line? People’s lives are being put at risk because of medicine shortages, and there is evidence that shortages are worsening with time.

Effectively planning for, and managing drug shortages remains a challenge due to the varying factors that could result in a shortage. Every shortage is different in size, scope and significance.

Causes are several and multidimensional in the context of a complex global supply chain.

Regardless of this, there is a patient in need somewhere and put at risk because of a medicine shortage.

Viable options to mitigate the problem?

There is increasing pressure on biopharma to do more to lessen the frequency of drug shortages within their own portfolio.

To assure supply for patient treatments: - Decisive leadership needed to prioritise critical resources when it comes to employees, capital assets and partner networks

Building simulation models that consider inventory levels, demand patterns, and factoring in supplier lead times. This however does not include internal and commercial decision making that is also a contributing factor.

Shortages and Discontinuations of pharmaceutical products

4 Key Perspectives



Drug shortages stem from societal values. From the choices and expectations we have from pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, the regulators and our health services.

Ethical pharma


There is a moral and political imperative to respond to drug shortages as vigorously as possible in ethically and politically sophisticated ways.



Generic drug market, where price competition is the primary way to gain market share, economic incentives are stacked firmly against investing in plant improvements or redundancies



Institutions and governments may feel compelled to trade-off safety against access by,

  • allowing re-use of single-vials
  • allowing expired drugs to be used
  • allowing companies to use sub-standard & unapproved manufacturing processes
  • purchasing compounded or imported medicines that may be of poor quality or even counterfeit
  • expediting regulatory approval of new medicines

Shortages - EU

Medicine shortage is a growing problem 91.8% (2018) vs 86.2% (2014) - EU

67% Respondents reported their country has a system for reporting shortages, but only 56% of those judge it to be effective
77% Responded that generic medicines are most commonly in short supply

What changes (if any) in practice has your hospital needed to make in order to deal with the shortages problem?

Creation of communication Readjustment of budget plan Resignation of staff time No changes have been required

How often do pharmacies in the EU experience drug shortages?

36% daily
39% weekly
16% monthly

Types of medicine most frequently reported


Q3. Approximately how often does your hospital pharmacy experience medicines shortages?

The most frequent response to this question, based on 1,666 respondents, was 'weekly' with 39% of the responses, followed by 'daily' (36%), 'monthly' (16%) and 'occasionally' (11%), which shows most hospitals are experiencing shortages on a frequent basis.

2019 – Medicine Shortage Results

2136 hospital pharmacists from 39 countries

95% (2019) vs 91.8% (2018) – EU

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