Shortages persist in EU after GSK temporarily halted production in Italy

Hospitals in Denmark are having trouble getting a preferred opioid anesthetic and some other countries are also seeing drug shortages that all tie back to GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) temporarily suspending production at a plant in Italy.

Hospitals in Denmark are short of the opioid anesthesia Ultiva, which they prefer because patients wake up faster after surgery so can be moved to postop rooms more quickly, Denmark’s CPH Post reported.

The hospitals have switched to available meds but say the shortage is having an impact. “It’s definitely problematic for the patients who we now need to observe during a longer waking-up phase,” Susanne Wammen of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Medicine in Denmark said in a television report, the Post reported.

A GSK spokeswoman today confirmed the situation, saying GSK “temporarily suspended manufacturing for a number of weeks” at site in Parma, Italy this spring to investigate environmental monitoring. She said it was a precautionary measure for an issue that didn’t affect patient safety and that production resumed in May.

By, then however, inventories of some drugs in “a small number of countries,” were running short, GSK acknowledged.  

Last year, GSK ran into supply issues with some customers after a massive explosion at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin, China, damaged one of GSK’s plants, leading to a production interruption there.

- read the CPH Post story

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