Brussels has called on Europe’s drugs industry to urgently ramp up supplies of intensive care medicines used for Covid-19 patients after some EU member countries reported imminent or actual shortages. The move stokes concerns that hoarding, emergency border controls and disrupted supply lines from pharmaceutical factories in China and India are threatening European states’ responses to the crisis.
Several countries hit by the pandemic said they had only a week’s stock of certain critical medicines, Stella Kyriakides, EU health commissioner, said in a letter to leading pharmaceutical business groups dated April 3 and seen by the FT. The EU’s European Medicines Agency weighed in yesterday, saying that the availability of drugs was a “critical concern” as some countries said they were starting to see shortages or expected to very soon. These included medicines such as certain anaesthetics, antibiotics and muscle relaxants, stocks of which are being depleted by soaring admissions to intensive care units as the outbreak spreads across Europe.