Drug shortages are worsening, with cholesterol and blood pressure drugs the most difficult to obtain
Drugs to control high blood pressure and cholesterol are among a growing number of drugs that are becoming scarce along with commonly used nasal sprays and skin treatments, new data shows.
he chronic drug shortage shows no sign of abating, with a record 239 drugs now off shelves, including 13 on the World Health Organization (WHO) critical list.
With hay fever season coming later this spring, the shortage of nasal sprays is also a concern.
The number of scarce medicines has risen an alarming 34 percent since last October.
The latest analysis from industry experts shows a looming shortage of commonly used nasal spray products and skin treatments.
Other drugs that have become scarce from multiple vendors in the past week include ezetimibe, used to treat high blood cholesterol, and lercanidipine, used to treat high blood pressure.
Several antibiotics and over-the-counter cough and cold medicines remain difficult to obtain.
The Medicine Shortage Index, compiled by Azure Pharmaceuticals, analyzes the most recent data published by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).
A round table will be held in Dublin tomorrow to discuss the issues fueling the shortages.
Thyra de Jongh, lead author of a recent European Commission report on drug shortages, said ahead of the meeting: “The problem is caused by many factors in the chain, such as: B. Scarcity of raw materials, rising transport costs and geopolitical factors Factors such as the war in Ukraine and an increase in demand for certain medicines due to intense seasonal epidemics.
“These more acute factors further highlight systemic weaknesses in the supply chain that have existed for years.
“What has changed is that the current crisis has really made people realize that if you are dependent on highly globalised, complex supply chains and something goes wrong, it will have an impact and create bottlenecks.
“Pricing is part of the problem. The link is in terms of its impact on security of supply. Low margins on medicines have changed supply chain structures and made the whole system more vulnerable.”
Portugal recently decided to increase drug prices by up to 5 percent to improve its drug supply.
Claudio Zurzica, an international medicine supply chain expert, said: “Anything that contains a primary packaging container such as syringes or other types of plastic devices used to store pharmaceutical products may experience disruptions or delays due to the coming supply chain impact through from China in the last few months.
“What we see in the pharmaceutical supply chain is that disruptions occur because manufacturing is complicated. There are undoubtedly supply chain reasons for the current drug shortages.
“But this factor is mixed with a combination of other reasons, such as overheads and logistics, which are increasing due to geopolitical factors, as well as commercial and pricing reasons.”
Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly has insisted no company has “cited pricing as the reason for the current product shortages”. He also suggested that there are suitable product alternatives.
However, pharmacists have warned that patients are concerned and frustrated at having to settle for a patchwork of alternatives.
Sandra Gannon, Managing Director of Azure Pharmaceuticals said: “We are seeing bottlenecks in nasal sprays.
“[This is] partly due to increased demand, but also due to supply issues slowly emerging in the chain of manufacturing facilities on the other side of the world.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/medicines-shortage-worsens-with-cholesterol-and-blood-pressure-drugs-among-hardest-to-source-42332480.html Drug shortages are worsening, with cholesterol and blood pressure drugs the most difficult to obtain