Switzerland takes more steps to relieve antibiotics shortage

Swiss pharmacies are struggling to meet demand for antibiotics amid a supply shortage. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

The Swiss government is to free up compulsory stocks of oral antibiotics as of March 1 in response to an acute shortage of some drugs.

This content was published on February 17, 2023 minutes

Up to now the Federal Office for National Economic SupplyExternal link (FONES) has been able to remedy supply disruptions by authorising temporary partial release of compulsory stocks. But this is no longer enough, it said in a statementExternal link on Friday.

Some antibiotics – those administered by injection or infusion – have been covered by the release of compulsory stocks in force since November 1, 2019. The government is now extending this to tablets and capsules that can be taken from the stocks in large quantities.

+ Read more about the shortage of medicines in Switzerland

Compulsory stocksExternal link are aimed at stockpiling essential goods in case of crisis. With regard to medicines, all companies putting a listed vital drug onto the Swiss market for the first time are bound by law to hold compulsory stocks.

Switzerland has experienced problems with antibiotic supplies in the past, but the situation has worsened in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and then because of an ongoing wave of infections, FONES explained.

In Switzerland the main suppliers of oral antibiotics are sourced from the same European producer. As the producer is facing capacity problems, it is rationing the antibiotics supplied to different countries.

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