• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Pharmacists Appeal to Government for Intervening amidst Drug Shortages

Nov 11, 2022

On Tuesday, the Pharmaceutical Association of Israel announced that it had reached out to the government for assistance.

It warned that there were hundreds of vital drugs, like Ritalin, which are currently running short in the country.


On Monday, a letter was sent to Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister, by the association, in which it warned that patients were suffering due to the shortfalls.

He also called for the assistance of the Health Minister in improving the supplies of the required drugs.

Amir Nitzan, the chief executive of the organization, said on Tuesday that people were used to the shortages of some drugs, there has been a sharp increase in the problem of late.

He said that there were around 100 drug lines that were not available currently, which is twice the number two months earlier.

These include some heart medications, anxiety medications as well as some dosages of Ritalin. Some of the painkillers are also short in the market.

According to Nitzan, there were some patients who found workarounds like asking their doctors to write them an alternative prescription.

But, he added that not only was this difficult for the patients, but also put the health system under stress.

More problems

The CEO said that each day, there were more drugs that seemed to be unavailable in the market. He said that this had previously happened from time to time.

But, there had been a major increase in such cases in the last two months. He also stated that distributors within the country were dealing with operational problems, which means drugs were reaching pharmacies late.

He stated that when the two problems were combined, they had a major impact. He added that it was important for them to warn about it because they have a responsibility to the patients.

The impact

There are concerns amongst some doctors that health inequality will widen because of these shortages. This is due to the fact that more educated people are familiar with how to navigate the health system.

Hence, they will be able to find replacement prescriptions a lot quicker. They also stated that people living in urban areas with multiple drug stores are at a distinct advantage.

This is applicable for drugs that are short in supply, but not completely out of stock. Likewise, people who have cars are also at an advantage because they can travel to look for medicines.

The head of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians, Prof. Hagai Levine said that shortage results in gaps between people in the social and geographic periphery because not everyone knows how to get the medicines.

He said that they have known this for a few weeks and now they required the Health Ministry to intervene, instead of leaving the issue to market forces.

The letter from the association called on Horowitz to help restore the supply of the drugs through ministry intervention.

It said that other substitutes of the same medicine can also be affected because of the shortage, so there need to be solutions.

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