The chairman of the pharmacists union in Israel has warned that the shortage of medicines in the country is intensifying every day and it could put the public health in danger.
Numerous patients all over the country are being informed that their prescriptions are not in stock. While drugs do run short in Israel every now and then, it is usually temporary.
This time around, the problem has intensified a great deal.
A practicing pharmacist and the head of the Israel Pharmacists Association, David Pappo said on Thursday that the problem had become quite serious.
He stated that it was quickly reaching the point where it would pose a danger to the public health. He stated that almost 150 drug lines are short, which makes it drastic.
He went on to say that they receive messages everyday about more medicines running short. He stated that on Thursday alone, he had been told that nine more medicines were out of stock, while the number had been 13 the other day.
He asserted that the medicine was not just painkillers, or for flu because they can overcome a shortage of these.
He said that the shortage of medicines for children suffering from ADHD, those for psychiatric purposes, insulin, and those for high blood pressure, heart and skin problems, were also short.
Pappo said that there could be substitutions, but this was not ideal and these substitutes would also run out.
The comments from the chairman come a week after the Pharmacists Union had sent a letter to Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister.
The letter had asked for the help of the ministry in improving supplies, or it could be harmful for the patients.
The Health Ministry responded on Thursday that the pharmaceutical division had been ordered by Prof. Nachman Ash to reach out to healthcare providers for an inspection.
The Director-General of the Health Ministry had told them to map out any shortages in medicines, so they could be addressed.
It is believed that the shortages have occurred because of a combination of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the local problems in different medicine factories all over the globe, as well as the economic crisis.
Pappo said that patients were currently managing by asking doctors to write a different dosage of their prescription, or by opting for other generic drugs.
However, he asserted that this was not the solution. It is because different doses of the same drug, or substitutes, can be less effective because they have different ingredients.
In addition, they can also result in allergic reactions and patients have to wait for new appointments to get new prescriptions.
In addition, the generic alternatives are also running short and Pappo is worried that they may run out of viable substitutions completely.
He said that when the original medicine is short, the same happens to generic ones in a couple of days and then substitutions also run short in a few more days.
Plus, patients end up wasting days while they have to wait for replacements, whether generic, or substitutes.