Illustration photo – Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek, December 19, 2022.
Prague – Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09) will comment on the lack of medicines at today's press conference, for which he is repeatedly criticized by the parliamentary opposition. The Czech Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (ČAFF) stated on Thursday that the production of drugs cannot be increased immediately, it is planned long in advance and there is no free capacity. According to ČAFF, the supply of active substances has stabilized, but there is still a lack of raw materials for the production of packaging.
Válek said on Facebook on Thursday that the situation with medicines is complicated, but it is getting better. “Despite the fact that the whole of Europe is struggling with a shortage of medicines. Thanks to negotiations with manufacturers and distributors, it was possible to speed up the planned supply of medicines or to ensure completely extraordinary supplies of antibiotics, in the order of hundreds of thousands of packages,” he wrote. The government also approved the import of medicines from abroad.
According to ČAFF, there have been problems with supply chains since the start of the covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. Supplies of active substances and raw materials for the drugs themselves have stabilized, and manufacturers currently often have six to 12 months' worth of raw materials in stock. According to her, however, this is not possible with substances that are produced by only a few factories in the world.
Temporary drug shortages are a common phenomenon, according to experts, and it is usually possible to replace them with drugs from another manufacturer with the same active substance. However, according to general practitioners and pharmacists, the current situation is worse than before. In addition to production reasons, higher morbidity and panic about shortages are also to blame, due to which people buy up the drugs that are available. complications of diseases such as flu or angina, for which doctors often also prescribe antibiotics.
The minister wants to submit an amendment to the Medicines Act to the government this March, which would legislate the manufacturer's obligation to keep a two-month supply of medicines and significantly increase the penalties for incomplete and inconclusive records, which may be the result of the export of medicines abroad.