Shortage of contraceptive pills set to continue for 'weeks'

Pharmacies throughout the Netherlands are finding it difficult to buy enough stocks of some types of contraceptive pills, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday. The main cause of the shortage, which affects 1.2 million women who take Mycrogynon 30, is the destruction of a large batch of the pills in September which failed safety tests. ‘If a sample of the pills is not up to the safety standards, the whole batch has to go. That means tonnes of pills,’ Martin Favie of the association of generic medication producers Bogin told the paper. But the shortage is also caused by insurers' insistence that pharmacies provide cheaper, generic drugs where possible, pharmacists’ association KNMP said. The Dutch demand for the cheapest drug causes producers and suppliers to limit their stock and that means that any hitch in the production process can cause shortages within weeks.  More >

D66 wants quick vaccination legislation

Coalition party D66 is urging parliament to bring forward the vote on a plan to allow crèches to refuse children who have not been vaccinated, the Parool reports. The call comes in the wake of an outbreak of measles in a crèche in The Hague this week involving three children who had not been vaccinated. One of them may have caught the disease when on holiday abroad, community health service GGD Haaglanden said. A fourth child may also have the disease, which is particularly dangerous to pregnant women and very young children. D66 MP Rens Raemakers said the outbreak is the result of a drop in children being vaccinated against the disease although the RIVM public health institute said earlier no such link could be made at the moment. Currently 90.2% of Dutch children are vaccinated against potentially serious illnesses such as measles, polio and whooping cough. This is below the level of 95% the World Health Organisation considers safe. ‘We are running out of time and if we don’t act know this outbreak won’t be the last,’ Raemakers told the paper. His proposal can count on the majority support of the three coalition partners and opposition parties GroenLinks and SP.  More >