Tensions over amoxicillin: concerns over antibiotic stock-outs before winter

Amoxicillin, an antibiotic widely used to treat childhood illnesses, is starting to run out in some pharmacies. Like her, paracetamol, spasfon, gaviscon… The ANSM should soon make new recommendations concerning the antibiotic.

The factors to explain it are numerous, but the consequence is unique: it is increasingly difficult to find amoxicillin in pharmacies. Pharmacists are sometimes forced to refer their customers to colleagues, or even advise them to visit the doctor again to find an alternative, indicates this Thursday, November 17, Le Parisien.

Amoxicillin is this antibiotic, widely used to treat childhood bacterial diseases such as ear infections, angina… So, faced with the tension on the supply of this drug, the ANSM, the national drug safety authority, is preparing to issue new recommendations.

In addition to the reminder of good practices, the authority could also limit the number of days of prescription, quota orders from pharmacies, reveal our colleagues.

Other drugs under tension

Amoxicillin is not the only drug to miss. On November 9, Senator Bruno Belin (attached to LR), a pharmacist by profession, alerted the Minister of Health François Braun. “France is running out, running out of money, running out of water, running out of electricity, running out of gas, running out of nuclear, out of doctors and now out of some drugs. Spasfon and gaviscon we seek, amoxicillin and paracetamol as rare as oil. In this epidemic of bronchiolitis, it is dramatic”, he underlined, as reported by Public Senate.

According to the Minister of Health, measures have already been taken, in particular for amoxicillin. “Obligations at the level of volume stocks have been increased for medicinal products of major therapeutic interest. Soluble amoxicillin is difficult to access while other forms of amoxicillin are easily accessible”, replied François Braun, in addition to recalling that bronchiolitis is a viral disease, for which therefore antibiotic treatment is not necessary. .

How to explain the shortage?

As Le Parisien points out, France is not the only country lacking amoxicillin. The United States and Canada are also in tension. “The problem is that these antibiotic raw material production sites are concentrated in China and today these producers are closing, sites have not reopened after the Covid crisis because there are had a decrease in demand during the crisis on certain drugs but also a rise in the price of energy which caused certain sites to close”explains this Friday, November 18 Pauline Londeix, expert in the right to health and access to medicines, at the microphone of RMC.

But the causes are also cyclical. The war in Ukraine has consequences on the import of aluminum, of which the country is a major producer. Aluminum used in particular for medicine packaging.

On the reasons for the shortage, François Braun assured that he wanted transparency: “It is difficult to distinguish between the deficiency of active products and the deficiency of packaging capacity“. For the time being, the ANSM is projecting itself on “strong supply tensions, planned until March 2023”.

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