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Austrian Court of Audit points to a possible jeopardization of the safety of patients due to bottlenecks in the availability of medicines

08.11.2019 - The Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) carried out an audit of the procurement of medicines in selected hospitals in Salzburg and Tyrol

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In its audit report entitled “Procurement of Medicines in Selected Hospitals in Salzburg and Tyrol”, the ACA points to supply difficulties with regard to medicines. In 2018, for example, the provincial pharmacy of Salzburg received 870 notifications on supply bottlenecks. The hospital pharmacy of the Landeskrankenhaus Innsbruck – Universitätskliniken (provincial hospital of Innsbruck – university clinics) recorded 600 notifications on supply bottlenecks in the same period.

Both pharmacies procured medicines for all hospitals of the Gemeinnützige Salzburger Landeskliniken Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (operating company of the non-profit provincial clinics of Salzburg, abbr. SALK) and the Tirol Kliniken GmbH as well as for other hospitals. While the pharmacy of the provincial hospital of Innsbruck experienced supply difficulties concerning, amongst others, antibiotics, cytostatics and vaccines, the provincial pharmacy of Salzburg reported bottlenecks in all indication groups. The audit covered the years from 2014 through 2017.

Ministry is to evaluate the security of supply

Both pharmacies established processes in order to address the bottlenecks: in part, medicines had to be purchased outside the European Economic Area for a considerably higher price. Certain medicines were subjected to quota. Furthermore, alternative therapies were agreed with the respective physicians. The ACA recalls that the supply difficulties have increased from year to year, and this not only in Austria but worldwide. Consequently, the care for patients is potentially jeopardized. Furthermore, additional costs are incurred for the hospitals. The ACA therefore recommends to the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection to carry out a holistic evaluation of the supply difficulties of medicines in Austria with regard to the security of supply and to take corresponding measures.  

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Report: Procurement of Medicines in Selected Hospitals in Salzburg and Tyrol

From May to October 2018, the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) carried out an audit of the procurement of medicines in selected hospitals of the provinces of Salzburg and Tyrol. The audit focused on the prices, the acquisition and the security of supply. In concrete terms, the ACA audited the provincial pharmacy of Salzburg in its capacity as the hospital pharmacy for the hospitals of the Gemeinnützige Salzburger Landeskliniken Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (operating company of the non-profit provincial clinics of Salzburg, abbr. SALK) and the hospital pharmacy of the general public Landeskrankenhaus Innsbruck – Universitätskliniken (provincial hospital of Innsbruck – university clinics). Both pharmacies procure medicines for all hospitals of the SALK and the Tirol Kliniken GmbH as well as for other hospitals that are mainly located in Salzburg and Tyrol. The audited period essentially spanned the years from 2014 through 2017.

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