Europe could face more drug shortages because of the coronavirus

Europe could face more drug shortages because of the coronavirus

Europe is experiencing delays in supplies of medicines and face masks because of coronavirus disruptions, according to EU and industry officials, compounding already acute shortages of drugs on the continent, Reuters reports.


Many countries around the world rely on China, the source of the outbreak, for drug ingredients in an age of global supply chains, and are grappling with how to avoid shortages of vital medicines.


The European Union is assessing the delays in drug shipments from Asia, a senior official from the EU Commission said, as France warned it was over-dependent on China with about 40% of the country’s drug ingredients imported from there.


The European concerns come as India, which is the world’s main supplier of generic medicines and also relies on Chinese ingredients, decided to restrict some drug exports.


Many active pharmaceutical ingredients are produced in China and the virus outbreak is affecting the manufacturing capacity and stability of the supply of these ingredients,” the European Medicines Agency, an EU body, told Reuters.


This could potentially lead to shortages of medicines worldwide.”

The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said it had not yet seen shortages in the bloc caused by the virus. But any hit to supplies due to the outbreak could worsen existing shortfalls.