Yasmina Kattou / Photo credit: AFP 06:23, February 22, 2024

To help doctors prescribe alternatives to unavailable drugs and intensify the proper use of antibiotics, the government announced on Wednesday some concrete measures to anticipate shortages.

Drug supply tensions have increased in recent years throughout Europe.

Minister of Labor and Health Catherine Vautrin presented the brand new plan to combat drug shortages.

“A road map” for the period 2024-2027, while this scourge worsened last year: +30% of drug shortages were reported in 2023. Faced with this, several measures will be taken.


The list of 450 so-called “essential” drugs, such as amoxicillin or morphine, will be updated each year, starting in 2025. Depending on shortages, certain drugs may be added to the list, to ensure their availability on the territory.

Another measure: the number of medications per box could change to avoid waste: for a treatment over a week, a box of 7 tablets would be delivered, rather than 2 boxes of 5 for example.


 Paracetamol, morphine... Against shortages, Europe publishes its first list of vital drugs

Furthermore, the executive also asks pharmacists to limit orders directly from laboratories, and to go through wholesalers.

This will prevent certain large pharmacies from stocking up.

The executive also wishes to facilitate the work of doctors who will be able to have access to up-to-date databases, to avoid prescribing out-of-date treatments.

Health professionals will therefore be encouraged to prescribe another molecule.

Finally, the government wants more production in France.

The relocation of essential molecules, currently produced abroad, is planned to depend less and less on imports.