Medicine shortages in Ireland continue to persist with 247 different medicines used by Irish patients currently out-of-stock, as a new trend affecting supply develops, according to the latest Medicine Shortage Index.
The latest figures show the number of medicine shortages in Ireland up an additional 19 medicines in short supply since the end of last month, and a 38% increase since the Index began in October.
Of the 247 medicines currently unavailable, 13 are listed on the World Medical Organisation’s (WHO) critical medicines list.
The latest shortages analysis indicates a new trend of medicines that are stored or delivered using plastic components now increasingly in short supply. These medicines include nasal sprays, inhalers for the treatment of asthma and 11 different eye drop products.
Other medicines still in short supply across multiple suppliers in the past week include those that treat epilepsy and medicines used for the treatment of high blood pressure.
Many antibiotics like Amoxicillin and Penicillin and commonly used over-the-counter medicines like Benylin and Dioralyte are still difficult for patients to source.
The Medicine Shortage Index, prepared by industry experts, Azure Pharmaceuticals, analyses data made publicly available by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).
Azure CEO, Sandra Gannon, said: “One of the means we have to protect our domestic supply of stock, to prevent these important medicines from running out, is through pricing.
“Weaknesses in the supply chain alone highlight the imperative of revisiting the pricing framework for medicines to protect supply of stock and protect Irish patients.”
Ms Gannon said there is an awareness in other European countries that market-related factors need to be tackled and that medicines shortages are not just winter-specific and not only occurring as a result of exceptional circumstances.
“There are systemic factors that need resolution. Each patient has different needs and reducing the problem down to exceptional circumstances alone diminishes the quality of life impact that each patient experiences with their illness.”