The EU Executive Steering Group on Shortages of Medicines Caused by Major Events has adopted a reflection paper which contains recommendations to support forecasting of demand for human medicinal products across the European Union (EU) and also at the national level in exceptional situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, whenever such activity is undertaken.
A global health emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can drive a sudden surge in demand for certain medicines used to treat patients. The document builds on the experience gained by EU authorities last year, during the first wave of the pandemic, and presents a common methodology to predict the demand of medicines for use in intensive care units (ICUs).
The methodology is based on pragmatic predictions of demand for certain medicines and encourages the use of the best available information, with an aim to reach the right balance between existing uncertainties with regards to the actual future demand, and the imperative public health need to prepare for a potential major increase in demand.
The reflection paper – developed by an ad hoc working group of experts from EMA, national competent authorities and the European Commission – summarises best practices that can help develop accurate forecasting. While it includes practical recommendations and examples specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the general principles are applicable to other emergencies which require to forecast demand for medicines.