Acute shortage of antibiotics in Latvia's pharmacies

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The parents of many children are concerned by the fact that pharmacies don't have the medicines prescribed by their doctor. Adult antibiotics are also lacking. The lack of antibiotics is a problem for all of Europe, which has so far relied too heavily on supplies from third countries, Latvian Television reported on November 10.

In wet and cold weather, respiratory infections thrive, but more and more patients encounter the situation that that medicines prescribed by a doctor cannot be purchased at the pharmacy. 

The head of Dzirciema pharmacy, pharmacist Sigita Čulkstena, acknowledged that the situation was serious. There is a shortage of popular children's antibiotics used in the form of syrup.

“It is currently the time of respiratory diseases. Doctors prescribe a lot of antibiotics. We do what we can, call the doctors. Maybe there is another syrup. Maybe capsules. In other cases, we offer to make this syrup in the pharmacy,” Čulkstena said.

The Dzirciema pharmacy is one of the few where the medicine is also prepared on the spot.

Dace Ķikute, president of the Latvian Pharmacist Society, said that the responsibility for the lack of medicines is shared: “This is a chain where both manufacturers and retailers are involved, and I will say also state bodies.”

Stockpiling could be the solution, but in that case, prices could rise as the seller will want to recover the frozen funds from the patient.

The children's antibiotics have now been found, and deliveries have resumed. However, the problem itself has not been resolved because of the lack of active substance across Europe, which has so far relied too heavily on supplies from third countries. A lot of antibiotics are used to treat those injured in the Ukraine war.

“It's a problem for all of Europe and the world. And probably the problem of the whole world if there are already problems with raw material production. The idea of importing from third countries has been considered. We will follow certificates and good manufacturing practices to ensure this availability,” said Inese Kaupere, director of the Ministry of Health Pharmaceuticals department.

The patient is advised to first contact the pharmacy to see if the medicine is available. If not, it is important to know that medicines can be created on the spot in some pharmacies. You may refer to the State Agency of Medicines (Zāļu valsts aģentūra, ZVA) asking where the necessary medicinal product is found. State-compensated medicinal products must be received by any resident within 24 hours.


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