Item 8.3 Addressing the global shortage of medicines and vaccines

Statement by Norway at # EB140 // 26.01.2017

Item 8.3 Addressing the global shortage of medicines and vaccines

Thank you Chair,

•The global worsening of shortages of medicines and vaccines constitutes a risk to patients and to public. While this problem is especially acute in countries with weak health systems and supply chains, it is also increasingly challenging for small high income countries with limited markets. We commend the work by the secretariat in developing technical definitions and planning a notification system for medicines and vaccines at risk of shortage.

•However, we believe more work is needed on the draft definitions proposed in the report. In this context, we would like to bring attention to one specific issue. The proposed definition of shortages is restricted to products that already have been approved and marketed nationally. We agree that this must form the core of the system. However, countries with relatively small markets, like Norway, also rely heavily on medicines without a specific national marketing authorization. And increasingly, we also experience shortages of these important medicines. We believe a WHO definition of shortages also should cover products without marketing authorization in a given country. The establishment of a system for exchange of information between states could be useful in this regard, and should be explored.

•We look forward to the further development of this proposal in the member states consultation.  

Thank you.