PARIS (Reuters) – The French government is fighting to try to ensure that it can produce or procure certain medicines when stocks are low due to the coronavirus epidemic, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Thursday .
Philippe told TF1 TV in France that there are not enough drug molecules or components, echoing concerns across Europe, as the pandemic is putting enormous pressure on hospitals in Italy, Spain and elsewhere.
“Because it happens all over the world and at the same time, the consumption of products necessary for resuscitation explodes in a way that no one could have imagined,” explained Philippe. He did not name specific drugs.
The government has contacted industry groups to check production levels and try to identify bottlenecks in the supply chain, he added.
“The tensions and anxiety felt by the doctors (around the shortages) are very real,” said Philippe. “We are fighting hour after hour to make sure that we can respond to this incredible and unprecedented increase in consumption. “
Doctors in France said the levels of morphine and antibiotics, among other drugs, were alarming.
European Union countries would have access to the drugs they needed to treat people with coronavirus, block industry chief Thierry Breton said Thursday, adding that pharmaceutical companies are doubling production to address shortages .
The CEO of French drug maker Sanofi told Reuters on Thursday that the company was manufacturing at more than 93% of its capacity during the pandemic and was producing too much to try to solve supply problems.
(Reporting by Marine Pennetier and Sarah White; Editing by Stephen Coates)