The shortage of medicines in Italy: which ones are difficult to find and why

In many Italian pharmacies there are medicines that are difficult to find in these months. In detail, according to i data supplied by the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa), there are about three thousand medicines which have been reported as lacking by the regional associations of pharmacists. The drugs that are missing, or that are difficult to find, are above all the antipyretic drugs for children based on ibuprofen, some antibiotics for oral and pediatric use, some drugs of the cardiovascular sphere and some antipyretics. What are the reasons for this shortage? “The supply chain is suffering from many difficulties, above all the problems of supplying raw materials – explained Marcello Cattani, president of Farmindustria, to Sky TG24 -. The ingredients come for 75% from China and India and also for Italy, which is the largest producer of drugs, the moment of difficulty is evident. Everything has become much more expensive and difficult to find due to the international crisis. Prices have dropped by 1%, but the supply chain is under pressure: so the manufacturing companies can jump”.

“Given the difficulties, an important government strategy is needed to protect the supply chain: the first indications are good and allow the sector to be competitive and maintain itself at a very high level”, explained Cattani. The war in Ukraine also had an impact on this crisis, as highlighted by Roberto Tobia, national secretary of Federfarma, a The messenger: “Let’s think, for example, of the lack of aluminum necessary for the production of blister packs – he said. Most of the materials for the packaging of drugs comes from Eastern countries and, therefore, the pharmaceutical industry finds it difficult to put the drug into packages. Furthermore, the expensive fuel has led to the postponement of deliveries”.

“There are multiple reports of drug production difficulties due to various factors, which we are trying to solve in part, and linked to the different scenarios of war and cost increases,” said Nicola Magrini, director general of the Italian agency of the drug (Aifa), underlining how it is “a matter of attention and that worries us”. As highlighted by Marco Cossolo, national president of Federfarma, “one of the drugs that is most lacking is ibuprofen, especially in the 600 mg dosage. It is now the most used drug in the treatment of covid: it is probable that many have stocked up for the winter”. According to Eugenio Leopardi, coordinator of the national council of Federfarma, “towards the end of the year there are many shortages of medicines, such as Brufen”.

The list of drugs currently in short supply

One hypothesis to address the shortage of drugs is to use equivalents. “Equivalents are certainly of great help, but their diffusion is not yet sufficient – explained the national secretary of Federfarma -. Italy is the country that in Europe has the lowest percentage of use of generic drugs. Just think that every year the Italians spend an increasing amount of important sums, estimated at around one and a half billion euros, to have the branded drug compared to the equivalent”. Another possible solution would be to use galenic preparations, medicines prepared directly in the pharmacy, similar in all respects to the original ones. Even in this case, however, their diffusion and use is not yet sufficient.

The shortage of medicines in Italy: which ones are difficult to find and why