It is especially difficult for families when some medicines, such as fever juices, are currently not available in pharmacies. The government wants to fight shortages more vigorously – with new financial incentives.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is planning significant changes to the price rules for children’s medicines in response to supply bottlenecks for medicines.
This should be counteracted in the short term in order to open up a much larger market than today, according to ministry circles in the evening. For certain preparations, up to 1.5 times the “fixed amount” should be paid by the statutory health insurance funds – i.e. the maximum amount that you pay for a drug.
The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported, citing a key issues paper by the ministry, that such better remuneration should not only apply in the short term, but also make children’s medicines more economically attractive in the long term. This should ensure that no bottlenecks arise. Similar measures are planned for certain cancer drugs and antibiotics for adults.
Shortages of fever and cough syrups
Lauterbach had announced cornerstones for a draft law to combat problems with drug deliveries. There were recently bottlenecks in children’s medicines such as fever and cough syrups. Drugs for adults are also affected, such as cancer drugs and antibiotics.
According to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, there are currently a good 330 reports of supply bottlenecks for preparations. The ministry points out that not all delivery bottlenecks also mean supply bottlenecks. So alternatives can be procured or manufactured, but this means more work for pharmacies.
reorientation of procurement
The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported that the supply situation should also be monitored more closely in order to recognize early on which funds could become bottlenecks. In general, the cheapest provider should no longer be the only option when purchasing medicines.
According to the key issues paper, there should be two contracts for important means: In addition to the cheapest provider from non-European countries, the cheapest manufacturer from the EU should always be taken into account. The order will then be shared.
Minister Lauterbach had already made the basic thrust clear. “We’ve also gone too far with economization in this area,” he said last week. The price played the only role, the availability of medicines played too little a role. “We want to cancel that.”
Doctors fear further bottlenecks over the holidays
In addition to Corona, the flu and RS viruses in children are currently causing many diseases throughout Germany. Doctors’ representatives fear that bottlenecks in pediatric medicine will worsen over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
“At the moment we are observing that infections with the RS virus are declining, but more and more children are now coming with the flu and other respiratory diseases,” said Jörg Dötsch, President of the German Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “Due to the personnel situation on the holidays, the situation in clinics and practices will be even more tense than it is now.”
The chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, said: “I assume that this acute crisis in pediatric medicine will last until February.” The number of cases of infection is expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks, not only among children but also among adults. “At the same time, the children’s hospitals come under additional pressure over the holidays due to the reduced duty rosters – especially when many pediatricians in private practice close their practices during this time or reduce the office hours.”