Measures against shortage of breast cancer drugs

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Sat 12th Feb, 2022

The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices has initiated measures to counter a supply shortage of the important active ingredient against breast cancer, tamoxifen.

The advisory board for supply and supply bottlenecks has unanimously decided on various measures, the BfArM announced in Bonn.

Thus the import of tamoxifen-containing medicaments is to be facilitated. It will be determined whether and which drug quotas can be made available for the German market in the short term without creating a supply shortage in other countries. Doctors are also not to issue stockpiled prescriptions in the coming months. Rather, patients should only receive a follow-up prescription when this is really necessary.

Depending on availability, physicians could also prescribe smaller package sizes or drugs with a lower strength. The Advisory Council assumes that the supply gap, which would be expected by the end of February at the latest without compensatory measures, could be avoided until the newly produced drugs were available to patients.

Der Spiegel had reported this week on the impending supply shortage. The German society for hematology and medical oncology (DGHO) communicated accordingly together with other specialized societies that since January 2022 with Tamoxifen preparations of several companies "almost completely a supply bottleneck" exists. It goes at the present time around 85 per cent of the market. Up to 130,000 women and men in Germany could be affected.

The background to the shortages is not fully understood. One possible explanation, according to the DGHO, is an increase in prescriptions since the first quarter of 2020 in time with the lockdown measures due to the Corona pandemic combined with low flexibility in manufacturing processes.

Photo by Angiola Harry


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