Medicines in Italy, pharmacists' alarm: 'Anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and even anti-epileptic drugs are unavailable'
Medicines at risk in Italy too? After initiatives in France and the UK, the Belpaese too is confronted with an unprecedented phenomenon: the shortage of medicines
Medicines shortage in Italy, for Fofi president Andrea Mandelli, ‘we are in a perfect storm’
“The situation is certainly at the attention of the Minister of Health, Orazio Schillaci, who has dealt with it and is dealing with it.
The interlocution with the government is fruitful, important and aimed at finding a solution as quickly as possible’.
This is how the president of the Federation of Italian Pharmacists Orders (Fofi), Andrea Mandelli, intervenes on the shortage of commonly used medicines in Italian pharmacies.
We raised the alarm at the beginning of the summer,” he recalls, “when the lack of an anti-inflammatory for paediatric use had begun to cause some concern among mothers and families.
The situation has gradually worsened and today the problem persists.
MEDICINES IN ITALY: THE CAUSES OF THE ‘PERFECT STORM
“The causes,’ Mandelli continues, ‘are those we have repeatedly spoken about.
On the one hand, the fact that some active ingredients that used to be used for other pathologies are now also being used, with appreciable results, to treat Covid.
On the other hand, there is influenza, which is ripping the country apart, and here too we have seen an increased use of drugs’.
‘Then,’ Mandelli emphasises, ‘we are seeing an increased use in Eastern countries and those affected by the war in Ukraine.
Then there are factors that seem unrelated to the drug but which, in reality, are very important, such as the aluminium foil used to close the blisters for packaging the medicine. In short, we are in a real perfect storm’.
“Clearly,’ the Fofi president points out, ‘in this whole system, the increase in consumption, the war and the Covid in China have gradually led to the active ingredients not being made available to pharmaceutical companies and, therefore, it is impossible for them to prepare the drug’.
FROM ANTIBIOTICS TO EPILEPSY DRUGS
Mandelli then dwells on the drugs that are currently less present on the counters of Italian pharmacies.
“In fact, in rotation, they have all been missing a bit,” he says, “from antibiotics to aerosol medicines and some syrups.
But now there is also a lack of medicines that are not linked to the flu, such as those for epilepsy, for example’.
We try to help pharmacists to make preparations in the pharmacy when we can,” he emphasises, “as was the case with paediatric ibuprofen, for example.
However, we want to send a message to citizens not to stockpile medicines, as this further penalises the market, and to trust the substitutions that the pharmacist proposes to them”.
“We try to remind citizens,” Mandelli concludes, “that the pharmacist, who has been a key player in territorial care for three years, does not suddenly want to harm them.
Unfortunately, some medicines cannot be found, but we try to make up for this lack in every way possible”.
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