Medicine shortages up by 20 per cent in a year

Medicine shortages in Belgium have increased by 20 per cent in a year, L’Echo reported on Saturday, based on figures from the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP).

In 2023, there were 3,596 medicines unavailable for an average of 54 days. That figure has been rising steadily for several years, with a 20 per cent rise from 2022 to 2023. In the past 30 days, 3.5 per cent of the total supply of drugs was temporarily unavailable or had their commercialisation interrupted or stopped. 

Last year, 41 medicines were given “critical unavailability” status. This refers to products for which “no alternative exists and which are unavailable for more than one month”, according to the FAMHP. Among them is Ozempic, the diabetes medication also used for weight loss, which will have limited availability until at least the end of June.

For medicines not categorised as critically unavailable, the FAMHP says, alternatives, treatment modifications or stocks at wholesalers and pharmacies are normally sufficient to meet demand in case of short-term unavailability.

Reasons for the shortages include production delays, logistical problems or lack of active ingredients. A royal decree published at the end of January provides a legal framework to temporarily ban the export of certain essential medicines from Belgium.


File image © BELPRESS

Related news

Website preview
Ozempic producer buys factory in Brussels
Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, maker of the popular drug Ozempic, is buying a Brussels factory that fills medical injection pens. The...

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels