From antibiotics to anti-asthma drugs, AIFA alarm: “Medicines unobtainable due to production problems or high demand”. Here’s what they are

Antibiotics and antipyretic like ibuprofen and paracetamolbut also antiepileptics, antihypertensives and anticancer. Between the resurgence of Covid cases and the seasonal flu boom, various types of common medicines – in Italy and beyond – they have become almost unobtainable. The latest bulletin from Aifa (the Italian drug agency) reports the shortage of over three thousand drugs, of which 554 due to production or distribution problems, high demand, discontinuity in supplies or reduced availability. All the most common appear in the list over-the-counter drugs flu shots: TachypirineEfferalgan, Tachidol, Tachifludec, Neoborocillin. But also amoxicillin (a generic antibiotic), fundamental preparations for the treatment of chronic diseases (for example Levodopa) and for cancer patients (Zofran). Or the Ventolinessential for asthma sufferers. A situation resulting from one exceptional combination of factorswhich led – says al Messenger the national secretary of Federfarma Robert Tobias – to an even “higher, albeit slightly, shortage than in the darkest period of the pandemic”.

The reasons are varied. In the first place, Italy’s dependence on countries such as India and China in the production of active ingredients: “Due to the pandemic and the lockdown, the factories located in these countries have slowed down their production. To avoid similar consequences and have greater peace of mind, we should make sure we are more independent in the future ”, explains Tobia to the Roman newspaper. The crisis in raw materials, she adds, causes a lack, for example, of “the material for the packaging of medicines, aluminum for blister packs containing medicines, the Willow for syrup vials and bottles, and even the cardboard, a material that we underestimate but which is fundamental for distribution”. Last but not least, “the fear of not finding these drugs pushes citizens to buy them even without needing to”.

To confirm the difficulties also on the side of general practitioners is Sylvester Scottisecretary of Fimmg (Italian Federation of General Practitioners: “There is one supply difficulties dictated by unfavorable international situations but also by imperfect logistics”, warns in another interview with Messenger. “What is clear, however, is that calls from disoriented patients are on the rise. More and more often they arrive at the pharmacy and do not find what I prescribed. And so they are forced to move from one pharmacy to another, without knowing if they will find it later. The peak was just before Christmas but even today the situation is delicate ”, she explains. “The advice I feel I can give to patients is to always rely on your doctor. Not all medicines can be substituted for generic alternatives without first doing some thinking. Let’s say that in this way it is more complex to treat patients ”, she reflects.

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