Hard pill to swallow for Costa pharmacists

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Pharmacists are unable to get commonly used drugs CREDIT: Shutterstock

CHEMISTS in the Alicante region of Spain claim they are having supply problems with 382 drugs, a figure they say is unusually high.

And the majority of them are common medications which are widely used.

For example, Adiro is the country’s second most used drugs and is taken to control thrombosis by reducing the risk of blood clots, particularly in those who have suffered angina, heart attacks or a stroke.

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They are also prescribed for patients who have undergone heart surgery.

But pharmacists reportedly can’t get hold of 100 and 300 milligram tablets.

A production cut at the Bayer plant in Leverkusen, Germany is to blame for particular shortage, according to the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products.

The pharmaceutical producer has apologised for any inconvenience the production problem may have caused and ‘is making every effort to restore the regular supply of the affected product’.

Pain killer Nolotil, is also out of stock in 575 milligram capsules and the injectable form. The drug is banned in the UK and America and is being investigated by the medicines regulator after concerns were raised that northern Europeans may be particularly at risk of side effects.

President of the Association of Pharmacists of Alicante, Fe Ballestero, said that while most of the drugs in short supply can be substituted with generics, it’s not a simple swap, patients have to go back to their doctors to have their prescriptions changed.

And as in the case of flecainide, which is used to control abnormal fast rhythms of the heart, there are not always replacement drugs.

Other contributing factors for the supply issues include a shortage of raw materials, problems in production plants, errors in the instructions or in the packaging.

But pharmacists blame low drug process imposed by the Spanish Ministry of Health, which leads to laboratories committing their production to other countries where the prices of the same drugs are higher.

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