Coronavirus: FAMHP measures to avoid medication shortages

date: 01/04/2020

The FAMHP is monitoring the availability in Belgium of medication, including medication indispensable for treating COVID-19 inpatients, on a daily basis. In this context, the FAMHP is taking a number of measures to avoid medication shortages.

The CEO of the FAMHP has decided to take various urgent measures regarding specific medication to combat medication shortages in the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Some of these measures are outlined below.

Strategic stocks

Each hospital with intensive care capacity has received strategic stocks of:

  • hydroxychloroquine
  • Kaletra
  • Rocuronium (curare)

This week, the following will be delivered to various hospitals:

  • Sufentanil
  • Atracurium besilate;
  • Rocuronium bromide;
  • Hydroxychloroquine.

In parallel, our experts are continuing to actively search for other available stocks to ensure the availability of these medicines over the longer term.

The FAMHP is also planning emergency stocks for the following medicines, which will only be used in the event of an effective shortage:

  • Morphine
  • Midazolam
  • Fentanyl
  • IV Paracetamol
  • Bulk supplies of chloroquine phosphate.

The distribution of these strategic stocks is always based on the number of intensive care beds approved and the number of additional ICU beds that can be used for COVID-19 patients.

Controlled distribution

The medicines included in strategic stocks are planned stocks in addition to the usual stocks held by companies.

Alongside this, the FAMHP has set up distribution control for some medicines, i.e. Esmeron, Nimbex, Morphine Sterop, Rapifen, Dipidolor Sufenta, Fentanyl and Hypnomidate. In concrete terms, the FAMHP will allocate a quota for each hospital based on an allocation key that takes account of the number of intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients. Medicines will continue to be ordered, distributed ad invoiced as usual.

The purpose of this measure is to ensure optimal distribution of available stocks according to need and to avoid overordering or overstocking.


Derogations on the importing of foreign batches of certain medicines by pharmaceutical firms have been granted or are in the process of being granted by the FAMHP. These medicines are clarithromycin, noradrenaline, sufentanil, alfentanil and hypnomidate.

Rational use

In the current crisis situation, the FAMHP has naturally asked hospitals to manage available medication in a rational manner and not to build up stocks unnecessarily. The FAMHP is monitoring the stocks of companies, wholesale distributors and hospital pharmacies several times a week and is proactively exploring solutions before shortages arise.


Last updated on 06/04/2020