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Medicine shortages go beyond antibiotics, as global crisis hits home

Cough medicines, antivirals among items in short supply

Medicine shortages are now impacting almost all classes of pharmaceuticals and the situation will drag into the new year, according to a medicine distributor and industry expert.

“I am afraid that, from January, I may not have anything to supply,” said Mario Debono, AlphaFarma owner and chairman of the Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Sectors at the Chamber of SMEs. While shortages of antibiotics have been widely reported, other medicines, including analgesics, cough medicines and antivirals are also in short supply, Debono told Times of Malta yesterday. 

Stocks of insulin and medications used to treat ADHD, while not currently as low, are approaching similar levels, he said. 

“Everyone is pleading with suppliers for medicines but the shortage isn’t just in the EU. It’s all over the world. The situation is alarming but local wholesalers and suppliers are not to blame,” he said, adding that a concerted effort was being made to source products. 

Sourcing from India and China nearly impossible

Shortages are being attributed to bans and unofficial controls on exports.

Earlier this month, the UK banned exports of antibiotics including amoxicillin, cefalexin and phenoxymethylpenicillin. The medications were restricted for export due to fears of a shortage, following a recent surge in Strep A cases in the country. While no formal ban has been introduced in China and India, two countries vital to the global pharmaceutical supply chain, Debono reports sourcing drugs from these countries as “very difficult to impossible”.

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Autor: James Cummings   Quelle: (03.02.2023 - LW)
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