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Shortage of at least 100 medicines on the market

25 November 2012 / 19:11:43  GRReporter
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Thousands of Greeks who have paid their insurance are becoming victims of the increasing shortages of medicines. The list is constantly being updated and the only certain thing is that in recent months it has not fallen below 40 medical goods. Antipyretics, medicines for diabetes, schizophrenia, antiplatelet drugs, even drugs for transplant patients are included in the latest list of unavailable medications or those with "limited availability", which the National Organisation for Medicines has to investigate. The lack may be total, that is certain drugs may not be found anywhere, or partial - the pharmacist orders ten packs of a certain product but receives five because of limited availability. This creates constant difficulties for the ill people who cannot find the drugs they need in pharmacies.

Chairman of the Greek Pharmaceutical Association Theodoros Abadzoglou told Kathimerini newspaper that currently there is a total or partial lack of at least 100 drugs. The reason lies in the recent confusion created by the issue of a new bulletin for drug prices, wrong planning by companies, but even more so the situation is a result of exports, which are constantly expanding because of the low price of medicines in Greece. It is indicative that in hospital pharmacies, which receive medicines directly from drug companies, shortages are due to another reason associated with the hospitals' debts to drug companies, some of which have chosen to provide medicines only against cash payment or against payment of old invoices. Thus, hospitals which plan their orders well and have available funds have a sufficiency of medicines and even lend to other health centres or provide services to patients from other hospitals. The Chief Pharmacist at a large hospital in Athens gave an example of a patient from Edessa, who was unable to find a particular medicine anywhere in Northern Greece and found it thanks to an acquaintance in Athens. On the other hand, hospitals in which there is a shortage of medicines often send their patients to pharmacies to make up their prescriptions. There are extreme cases of shortages due to depletion of hospitals' budgets, such as Hospital Tzaneiou, which stated the day before yesterday that medicines for patients in the Infectious Disease Unit have been exhausted.

In order to control the shortage of medicines on the Greek market, the Ministry of Health and pharmaceutical organisations will create a new system for direct communication and control. The Greek Pharmaceutical Organisation will collect reports of shortages of medicines and will inform online the Hellenic Medicines Organisation which will inspect each individual case separately, based on sales and export data. Subsequently, it will inform physicians electronically about the shortage so that they can prescribe other drugs with the same effect.

Tags: shortage medicines pharmacists
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