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The latest to disappear from pharmacies are life-saving anti-epileptics. But the list of finished medicines is long: there are still problems with the availability of antibiotics for children. Indeed, white coats find it difficult to order even candy to soothe coughs and colds. The long winter in which there was a surge in respiratory diseases and infections is not over yet. With a further difficulty, precisely the finished stocks of antibiotics. But since last week Tegretol and Frisium have also been added to the list. «They are antiepileptics, life-saving drugs – explains Claudia Passalacqua of Federfarma – we have solicited suppliers and pharmaceutical companies but the product is not available. Since last summer we have had difficulty getting supplies, the problem is precisely with the pharmaceutical companies that produce fewer products».
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In fact, production in the sector has suffered a sharp slowdown since last May. Already in the last quarter, according to the Medicines Agency (Aifa), the number of drug shortages is increasing: from June 2021 to September 2022, it increased from 2,500 to 3,000. In October, however, the list grew even longer, reaching 3,089. In January, the number rose again to 3,200.
A long list therefore, to which antihypertensives, antidepressants and diuretics have also been added in recent weeks.
«The reasons that Aifa has given us – adds Dr. Passalacqua – range from the cessation of commercialization, definitive or temporary, to unspecified production problems, up to the high demand and the consequent quota distribution. But for this winter season – he continues – we also had a combination of factors that caused the shortage of medicines. Above all, in the autumn we recorded an increase in cases of flu that arrived early and, at the same time, a new wave of Covid. This, added to the reduced number of stocks as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, has triggered the alarm and the stocks emergency”.
In the midst of a shortage emergency, general practitioners proceeded by prescribing alternative and equally effective medicines. So much for antibiotics. An alternative system which, however, cannot be applied to antiepileptics and life-saving drugs.
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