Spain suffers amid severe shortage of drugs

No improvement on horizon as difficulties persist in getting to over 400 medications, says senior executive of pharmacists association

Economy 15:43 03.02.2023
As Europe continues facing a severe shortage of drugs, Spanish pharmacies reported longer delays in hundreds of different kinds of medication last year.
 
Spanish pharmacies had a hard time supplying 403 different types of drugs, including for cardiovascular, neuromuscular, digestive, and respiratory diseases, according to the General Pharmaceutical Council of Spain (GPCS).
 
The problem is 150% worse now than it was in 2021, the Madrid-based council has said, as procuring those drugs takes up to four to five weeks longer than it once did.
 
Speaking to Anadolu, GPCS Director Antonio Blanes Jimenez clarified that the drug shortage problem is nothing new, having been felt since 2019.
 
"The situation had improved during the pandemic and grew worse again in 2022," he said.
 
Limitations placed by China and India on the export of raw materials needed for drug production and shipment and output-related problems caused by the Russia-Ukraine war were the main drivers of the shortage, said Jimenez,
 
Also pointing to the role of low drug prices in Spain, he said current data and trends did not paint an optimistic picture for 2023.
 
Patients should remain calm, however, as pharmacies can still provide generic medications in most cases, he added.
 
Also speaking to Anadolu, pharmacist Maria Carmen Sanz complained about the increasing problems in drug supply, with more than half of their daily orders not arriving.
 
"Our patients who come to us for drugs unfortunately leave empty-handed. What's worse is that we don't know the real reason behind the drug shortage. No explanation is made to us," she said, adding that many of the shelves in her store remained empty.
 
"We order the drugs early but we don't know when they will come, or if they will at all," she said.
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