The FAMHP is addressing the concerns of healthcare professionals. To cope with the difficulties in supplying medicinal products, FAMHP experts are in constant contact with hospital pharmacies and are working tirelessly to find solutions. There is currently no shortage of medicinal products preventing the treatment of COVID-19 patients in Belgium.
Stocks of certain medicinal products used in intensive care are under pressure during this COVID-19 pandemic. For this reason, since the beginning of this crisis, FAMHP experts have been working around the clock, seven days a week, to find solutions and support hospitals so that treatment can be ensured for all patients. So far, our agency has risen to the challenge, and all patients hospitalised in Belgium have received the treatment they needed. The stocks currently available suffice for the coming weeks. The FAMHP is taking exceptional measures to deal with this unprecedented crisis.
Locating medicinal products and having them delivered
The FAMHP teams are constantly monitoring the availability of medicinal products in Belgium. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the FAMHP has been contacting pharmaceutical companies in order to speed up deliveries and increase production capacities. To facilitate this work, the FAMHP has also accelerated the necessary administrative procedures. Our experts are finding, purchasing (in collaboration with the FPS Public Health) and importing new stocks of medicinal products for patients in Belgium.
The FAMHP's employees are also evaluating the export notifications of pharmaceutical companies based in Belgium, in order to oppose them if necessary, so that the stocks essential for patients being treated in Belgium remain nationally available.
Continuous contact between the FAMHP and hospitals
To support healthcare professionals in the management of their medicinal product supplies, the FAMHP is working with hospital pharmacies on a daily basis.
Likewise, FAMHP experts are providing hospital pharmacies with updates several times a week about which stocks and what types of medicinal products will be delivered to them in the following days, from which country these stocks originate and how to use them (translated information leaflet, medicinal product equivalence, warnings, safety considerations, etc). A large part of these stocks are strategic stocks purchased by the state and made available free of charge.
Our experts are also regularly informing hospital pharmacists about new exemptions granted each week allowing pharmaceutical companies to import batches of medicinal products directly from abroad.
Ensuring fair distribution of medicinal products
The FAMHP is overseeing the distribution of stocks of essential medicinal products for COVID-19. Deliveries are being carried out by the usual delivery companies and are being added to the usual stocks ordered directly by the hospitals.
Hospitals are receiving limited stocks without undue delay (several times a week), depending on the quantities available to ensure that medicinal products are provided where they are truly needed. The FAMHP’s objective is to prevent certain hospitals from overstocking medicinal products, while others face a shortage.
The distribution of strategic stocks continues to be based on the number of intensive care (ICU) beds for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
In the event of a critical shortage, the FAMHP has implemented an emergency system available seven days a week to help hospitals waiting for an upcoming delivery. Emergency requests are handled within hours of the request being made. The FAMHP has noticed a decrease in urgent requests. Over Easter weekend, for example, the emergency system received very few requests, which demonstrates that the system in place is functioning and meeting the needs in the field.
Exceptional solutions to guarantee continuity of care
Medicinal products supplied to hospitals to avoid shortages may not be the usual products, or even the usual concentrations or molecules, but continuity of care is guaranteed. The medicinal products supplied meet the same quality, safety and efficiency requirements as the usual products.
The possibility of using compatible medicinal products for veterinary use on humans is being studied. Stocks of Proposure, a sedative containing propofol marketed for veterinary use, have already been delivered to hospitals. Our experts have assessed the composition of this medicinal product, and the quality is identical to that of propofol marketed in Belgium for human use.
Controlling the distribution of non-critical stocks
The FAMHP is establishing quotas for a series of medicinal products that are still available “as usual”, to avoid excessive orders or overstocking and thus prevent stocks of these medicines from also coming under pressure . These quotas are
evaluated and reviewed weekly.