Healthcare industry points to necessity of medicine reserves in Latvia

Healthcare and pharmaceutical industry organizations are urging Latvia to start work on the establishment of a National Medicines Reserve Fund immediately because there is a high risk that chronic patients will be left without the necessary medicines in various risk scenarios and crises, Latvian Radio reported March 4.

An open letter from Latvian health care and patient and safety organizations said 94% of medicines are imported into Latvia. Therefore, after the experience of the pandemic and war in Ukraine, the organizations invite decision-makers to take into account, for example, the experience of Estonia, where reserves of state medicines are already being developed, and this month it has been decided to develop them also for veterinary medicinal products.

One of the signatories of the letter is the Latvian Network of patient organizations, and its board chairwoman Baiba Ziemele said in an interview on the Latvian Radio program “Afternoon/Pēcpusdiena” that preparation of plans for crises would not be sufficient, because medicinal products may be necessary immediately.

“Past experience shows that in crisis situations, a patient often remains in that last place,” Ziemele added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Pharmacy Director of the Ministry of Health, Inese Kaupere, said norms were developed for hospitals during Covid-19 - they should be provided with medication for consumption of not less than three months for emergencies.

Last year, a list of critical medicinal products was developed in Latvia, and negotiations are currently taking place with industry representatives, including wholesalers, in order to better ensure the availability of critical medicinal products. “We are currently discussing finding the best solution for practical provision of the established list. Supermarkets should provide these supplies in crisis,“ Kaupere said.

The negotiations concern both the supply of medicinal products and the distribution in crisis situations. 'We have identified the list, we have identified the costs. But we don't have really clear information about storage costs right now,” Kaupere said.

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