Monday, January 09, 2023

Kenneth Fox

More than 200 medicines are now unavailable to Irish patients, which includes treatment for chest infections, strep-throat, pneumonia and blood pressure.

The analysis compiled by industry experts also found 11 of these medicines are deemed critical by the World Health Organisation

Penicillin-based antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections are currently ‘unavailable from any supplier or source’ according to the data compiled by Azure Pharmaceuticals.

In total, 212 medicines are currently unavailable in the country – up from 25 last month.

As the Irish Examiner reports, there is a major shortage of over-the-counter (OTC) cough syrups for both adults and children, with pharmacists left scrabbling for alternatives.

Sprays for sore throats, dissolvable paracetamol powder, and soluble aspirin are also widely unavailable.

The Medicine Shortage Index, prepared by industry experts, Azure Pharmaceuticals, analyses the most up-to-date data published by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

The analysis found that common medicines such as Amoxicillin and Penicillin, used to treat bacterial infections, and Cefalexin, commonly used to treat respiratory infections, are all currently unavailable from any supplier or source.

The shortage of Clarithromycin, used to combat strep throat and pneumonia, is also causing growing pressure as the three suppliers of the medicine — who account for over 50 per cent of the market — are now also out of stock.

Commenting on the latest Index analysis, managing director of Azure Pharmaceuticals Sandra Gannon said:

“For the second month running, we are seeing the scale of medicine shortages in Ireland and resulting impact on patients and those who care for them.”

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