European Healthcare Distribution Association / Groupement International de la Répartition Pharmaceutique

Rise in demand in medicines

Rise in demand in medicines (23 April 2020)

Before and shortly after containment measures were introduced, demand for medicines and other medical products in some regions exceeded 2 to 3 times normal levels, confronting retail pharmacies and full-service healthcare distributors serving them with an unprecedented level of orders.


Full-service healthcare distributors were able to respond to the high number of orders in a timely manner with great additional efforts. Citizens, government, and patient confidence in the healthcare supply chain viacommunity pharmacy has been maintained.


Currently, a noticeable decline in demand for medicines prescribed for acute therapies, such as antibiotics, has been observed. However, an immediate increase of demand is likely to occur at any time in the near future. In the event that this would happen, GIRP calls on all national competent authorities to enable stock optimisation measures introduced by full-service healthcare distributors or their customers to restrict deliveries or the number of products dispensed to ensure availability of products for other pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and ultimately patients who also need treatment. 


Patients are not anticipated to use their existing stock of medicines before collecting new prescriptions due to the fact that they are expected to maintain safety stock at home. Governmental, physician and pharmacist driven communication towards patients are in place to prevent over-stocking at patient level. 


Obtaining new supplies from pharmaceutical manufacturers essential to treating symptoms of COVID-19 patients is becoming increasingly difficult. 


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