Medicine shortages continue to threaten European healthcare systems, resulting in discontinuity of care and increasing costs. This problem predates 2020, but has been exacerbated by events related to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and an unstable geopolitical situation. Multiple ongoing initiatives have been set up worldwide to tackle shortages at every level of the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Hospital and community pharmacists are on the frontline of efforts to mitigate the negative effect of medicines shortages. In some situations, extemporaneous and stock preparations can provide a temporary solution.

The European Committee on Pharmaceutical and Pharmaceutical Care (CD-P-PH) and the European Pharmacopoeia Commission (EPC) at the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM), in synergy with the current array of initiatives, are conducting two distinct but closely related projects designed to help ensure the availability of safe pharmaceutical preparations of appropriate quality. The EDQM will provide the secretariat for these initiatives, which are intended to give member states and healthcare professionals the knowledge and tools they need to provide the healthcare services people require in a timely manner.