The EU Executive Steering Group on Shortages of Medicines Caused by Major Events held a virtual meeting on 13 May 2020. Participation to the meeting of the steering group was extended to all the heads of the national competent authorities (NCAs) of the EU Member States to discuss the measures taken by EU authorities to ensure the continued availability of medicines in Europe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The steering group members and the heads of the NCAs took note of the continued roll out of the i-SPOC system through which industry notifies EMA and Member States on current or anticipated shortages of medicines that are crucial in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants continued discussions on opportunities for improvement with respect to how the supply of medicines used in intensive care units (ICUs) currently matches the demand at national level, in view of the reported shortages of ICU medicines. They agreed that the development of joint principles for modelling demand at national level, and subsequent sharing of demand data by the NCAs, would be useful to ensure that the supply of ICU medicines meets the demand in the short and medium term. This could already help to prevent possible shortages of medicines during a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections in Europe.
In this context, the heads of NCAs shared information on models that are currently in use in some Member States to forecast the future demand of crucial medicines. They also discussed ways to improve their forecasting capacities and looked at best practices regarding data modelling. At the next meeting, the members of the steering group and the heads of the NCAs will discuss the next steps of this project, including a proposal for joint principles for a demand model.