Meeting Report: Technical Definitions of Shortages and Stockouts of Medicines and Vaccines. October 2016
(2017; 29 pages)


In response to World Health Assembly resolution WHA69.25, "Addressing the Global Shortage of Medicines and Vaccines", an informal consultation of experts was convened in Rome on 5 October 2016. The meeting took place at the World Food Programme offices and preceded a quarterly meeting of the Inter-Agency Supply Chain Group (ISG). Meeting participants were from the ISG, industry, Member States and individual experts.

The purpose of the meeting was to develop technical definitions of shortages and stockouts of medicines and vaccines, as requested in the resolution.

Meeting participants were given preliminary findings of a systematic review commissioned by WHO to analyze definitions of shortages and stockouts in the context of medicines and vaccines. The systematic review identified procedural, policy and programmatic documents, but few peer-reviewed publications relevant to the topic. The review also showed that terms used to describe shortages and stockouts were used interchangeably to mean different things.

The findings of the systematic review were discussed. Terms were mapped to different areas of the supply chain, from manufacturing to dispensing to patients, and then the mapped terms were grouped according to whether they were related to supply or demand. After further discussion, the group developed, by consensus, their own definitions and noted whether they were related to supply or demand.

This document summarizes the proceedings and conclusions of the meeting.

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