Antibiotics Shortage by Liuhuaying Yang

Since 2022, global reports of medication shortages have surged, affecting countries like Australia, Canada, USA, China, Japan, and Europe. Antibiotics, critical for saving lives, have been particularly affected. The reasons behind these shortages include concentrated drug manufacturing in certain countries like China and India, coupled with increased demand following the post-pandemic resurgence of infectious diseases. Even countries with robust domestic manufacturing face shortages, suggesting that merely establishing local production facilities may not be sufficient. The crisis calls for long-term, structural policies to enhance drug supply resilience in the EU.

In this visualization, we present research that addresses this issue with an in-depth data analysis of the global antibiotic trade network and production system and derives indicators for the vulnerability of antibiotics supply in over 100 countries with regards to production disruptions in any other country. Using longitudinal data, we also show how global interdependencies evolved over the last decade. Users can further explore and compare disaggregated results for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and packaged products, gaining a more comprehensive understanding of dependencies.

For instance, when examining the Ingredients & Products map, high trade importance can be observed for China, the US, and some European countries, particularly for packaged products. Indicator values for European countries have clearly decreased compared to 2010, while India's importance in the global trade network has been increasing, especially for APIs. China remains a key player in the global API trade.

Moreover, the visual profile for each country provides valuable insights into dependence rankings, imports, and exports. For example, when looking at German imports and exports for APIs used in the production of penicillin, we can observe a high dependence on China and India, indicating significant network-mediated dependencies on India alongside strong direct dependencies on China.

Overall, this visualization project offers a powerful tool to understand the complexities of the global antibiotic supply chain and assess potential vulnerabilities in drug supply.