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[e-drug] New white paper Antibiotic shortages, stockouts, scarcity

E-DRUG: New white paper Antibiotic shortages, stockouts, scarcity
[We encourage readers to comment on this paper through e-drug  BS]

Dear e-drug members,

I warmly invite you to read a new white paper published by our team at the 
Access to Medicine Foundation this week. In it, we unpack the systemic factors 
that are causing antibiotic shortages (e.g., 148 national shortages in the US 
alone between 2001-2013; an ongoing shortage of benzathine penicillin G 
coinciding with syphilis outbreaks).

It can be downloaded here: "Shortages, stockouts and scarcity - The issues 
facing the security of antibiotic supply and the role for pharmaceutical 


The paper warns that antibiotic shortages are being caused by an inherent 
complexity and fragility in global antibiotic supply chains. We call for 
coordinated action by governments, regulators and the pharmaceutical industry 
to help rebuild a healthy antibiotic market.

The paper explores what actions the pharmaceutical industry can take to 
strengthen antibiotic supply chains, including examples of company practices 
identified through our three research programmes: the Antimicrobial Resistance 
Benchmark, Access to Medicine Index and Access to Vaccines Index.

How antibiotic shortages are linked to antimicrobial resistance

The complexity and fragility of antibiotic supply chains means that the supply 
side and demand side of the market frequently do not align. As a result, while 
some populations face antibiotic shortages, others are offered poor quality 
medicines, or gain inappropriate access to antibiotics that should be tightly 
controlled to keep antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in check. Of course, it is 
becoming well known that excessive use of antibiotics can drive up rates of 
AMR. Yet shortages can have a similarly negative impact as doctors resort to 
using less optimal treatment options. This makes infections harder to cure and 
increases the chances that bacteria adapt their defences.

I invite you to read and share the paper and to get in touch with your ideas. 
You can download the paper and our other publications from 


If you would like to talk to us about this paper, please get in touch.

Best wishes,


Gabrielle Breugelmans
Director of Research
Access to Medicine Foundation
The Netherlands
Gabrielle Breugelmans <gbreugelmans@accesstomedicinefoundation.org>
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