Madrid (EFE).- Spanish pharmacies detected supply problems in 403 drug presentations in 2022, 150 percent more than a year earlier, especially in the groups for the nervous and cardiovascular systems, and in a “very significant” way. of pediatric amoxicillin and some antidiabetics.
A problem that, so far this year, “is getting worse”, warned this Tuesday the president of the General Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists, Jesús Aguilar, during the presentation of the “Balance 2022 of incidents in the supply of medicines » and the FarmaHelp campaign.
The data collected by CISMED, the Information Center on the Supply of Medicines, of almost 10,000 of the 22,000 Spanish pharmacies, confirm an exponential increase in supply incidents or alerts -not shortages- in the last year, although the problem comes crawling for several years now.
“This supply problem has affected Spain for years, as well as the rest of Europe and the world”, so much so that for weeks the European authorities have been warning of the shortage of antibiotics and other medicines in the EU, Aguilar recalled. .
Nine out of ten are replaceable
But the experts have wanted to give a message of calm, since nine times out of ten, the pharmacist can replace the medicine with an equal alternative: «Citizens have to be calm. Is under control. The problem we have when looking for the medicine, not the citizens, “said Aguilar.
Which is not to say that they are not concerned about an upward problem: last year, pharmacies reported incidents with 403 drug presentations, which lasted between 4 and 5 weeks.
The average was 70 a week -compared to 28 in 2021 or 41 in 2020-, both nationally and locally, according to the data provided by Antonio Blanes, director of Pharmaceutical Services of the General Council of Official Colleges. of Pharmacists.
This broke with two consecutive years of decreasing incidences, which in 2020 was 50.1% and in 2021 54.7%, among other reasons, according to the pharmacists, due to political decisions such as the end of the auction of medicines in Andalusia.
All therapeutic groups were affected by the shortage, but notable were those for the nervous system, with a rise of 20%; and cardiovascular, with 19%; digestive (14%), respiratory (13%) and muscular (8%).
In addition, there were considerable numbers of incidences with ACEI-type antihypertensives (8%), and anti-inflammatories and analgesics (7%). However, since these drugs have many presentations, most of the problems could be “solved.”
Especially “significant”, although in this specific case due to the increase in demand, is what happened with pediatric amoxicillin and a type of antidiabetic, GLP-1 analogues, which due to their effect to reduce appetite are also used against obesity. In both cases, pharmacists have perceived “a tremendous increase in supply incidents.”
Faced with this scenario, the Ministry has offered to expand its extraordinary actions in case of shortages to thus avoid the interruption of a treatment, such as being able to substitute presentations -capsule or solution by tablet, for example- or make magisterial formulas, as already they have been licensed with pediatric amoxicillins.
The causes of these incidents are multiple: it is “a multifactorial problem derived in turn from problems that have to do with the increasingly globalized nature of drug manufacturing.”
Such as the concentrations of manufacturing in a single plant or the current crisis of raw materials -which also include those of packaging materials- that has aggravated the pandemic, since many come from Asian countries.
In the specific case of Spain, in the opinion of pharmacists, the pricing strategy has an impact, because here “they are very cheap”.
Be that as it may, pharmacies have shown their availability to try to mitigate this problem and with this objective they have launched a new campaign to publicize Farmahelp, a tool that connects the more than 22,000 pharmacies and helps the patient to locate a medicine in another pharmacy. close when yours is not.
In the first test phase, 6,000 pharmacies have signed up, allowing them to locate more than 3,000 medicines each month, celebrated the vice president of the General Council of Pharmaceutical Colleges, Juan Pedro Rísquez, who has defended this instrument as “an easy free collegiate service , non-invasive and that respects the privacy of pharmacists and patients. AND