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Vital drugs sold out – pharmacist raises alarm: "Five serious cases every day"

Increasingly, essential medicines are being sold at Bavarian pharmacies for patients – even in Freising. Debt is production in low-wage countries.

  • Bavarian pharmacies lack more and more vital medicines.
  • Critically ill patients cannot redeem their prescriptions.
  • A pharmacy spokeswoman is now sounding the alarm.

County – Joachim Eggert (47) from Au has as many patients these days: “I just can't believe it's with us in Bavaria vital medicines But that's exactly the case, as pharmacy spokeswoman Ingrid Kaiser confirms, "I have at least five serious cases every day" – customers who can't buy prescriptions for very important drugs. "It's amazing," Kaiser complains, "This is how I'm 26 years old pharmacist not yet experienced. And it gets worse and worse: "It's rising."

Vital medications were sold out in Freising – patients self-insured

Joachim Eggert is a patient with blood pressure. For ten years, he has been taking a combination product – a generic drug, that is, an active substance from the waste of a (expensive) original drug for which a health insurance company has a discounted contract with the manufacturer – and therefore the drug pays. But now he could no longer be found. Not at Eggert's Stam Pharmacy, not at Freising County, nowhere. So far, there was only the original specimen, which cost € 66 more, which Eggert eventually bought with his teeth. From his health insurance, AOK, whom he asked for help, feels alone. "I thought it would take the bureaucratic way. That's not the case: 'Health insurance companies can only take drug costs up to a so-called fixed amount,'" AOK Freising said.

Pharmacist Ingrid Kaiser: "It's rising."

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This Eggert patient is lucky in an accident: after all, the drug was still available and the 47-year-old was preparing for a hefty surcharge. However, often "whole groups of active ingredients are not available," reports a spokeswoman for Kaiser Pharmacy. This applies to antiepileptic drugs as well as antidepressants such as venlafaxine, which is also prescribed for anxiety disorders. "Patients come from a psychiatric hospital, where they have adapted well to venlafaxine," says Ingrid Kaiser, "and then there is no cure out there. It's a disaster."

Video: Drugs are becoming less frequent

Vital drugs sold out – reasons for bottlenecks

What are the causes of bottlenecks? For Kaiser, the case is obvious. For cost reasons, pharmaceutical companies could outsource manufacturing of drugs – such as antibiotics – to low-wage countries like India and China, where they are often dependent on only one manufacturer. If production at a huge company was stopped there or the batch was not delivered for quality reasons, finished drugs will often no longer be available worldwide. If production started then countries with higher prices would be delivered first, the Emperor knows. Example: cervical cancer vaccine. When it was available after the shortfall, "Asian countries were first served, paying up to three times more than German health insurance," complains Kaiser. Discount deals have exacerbated tight delivery. In addition, drug manufacturers are finding it difficult to invest more to save money. Many are only made as needed.

Patient desperate – overtime for pharmacists

For sick people, the situation seems almost "daunting" at the moment, reports owner of Pharmacy Engel in Lerchenfeld. "They're in despair if they don't get their medication." For local pharmacists, this means a huge amount of extra work: a thorough search, where the drug can still be found. Or call your doctor to see if alternate prescriptions can be issued. "This now accounts for an additional 20 percent of our work," says Ingrid Kaiser, citing a daily example: a blood pressure product often consists of two active ingredients. If combination medicine is not available, look for two separate preparations and talk to your doctor.

Vital medicines sold at pharmacies: the condition worsened

In the meantime, bottles in all pharmaceutical areas were prevalent: "There are currently 126 non-delivery drugs in my pharmacy," Kaiser reports. The current data sheet of the Federal Association of German Pharmaceutical Associations (ABDA) states that "painkillers (such as ibuprofen), antihypertensives (eg valsartan), acid blockers (eg pantoprazole) and antidepressants (eg opipramol) were the first 10 bottlenecks in delivery in 2018 ”. Since then, says Ingrid Kaiser, the situation has "deteriorated dramatically." This is dangerous in some cases: If you suddenly stop taking your blood pressure medication, your blood pressure usually remains stable for several days. "But then it can shoot upwards."

Freising pharmacist: "Bottle bottles have become everyday"

Ingrid Kaiser: "Vials have become everyday. We pharmacists are already scared when a customer comes with a prescription. And I'm worried it will get worse." So far, they have still found a solution in their pharmacy. But he advises all patients not to wait for the last pill, but to make sure they fill up as quickly as possible. There are many who they think should change (see the overview below).

Also read: Not only are drug delivery bottlenecks, but dying in pharmacies is a problem for patients. Those affected explain why pharmacies in Munich are failing. The Dachau pharmacist would also have to pay a fine – because his pharmacy was open but he was not present.

Germany is missing more and more drugs – background

According to Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Germany even lacks medicines for the treatment of cancer, vaccines, antibiotics and anesthetics. Therefore, doctors and pharmacists are demanding new laws across the country. They should oblige pharmaceutical companies to store important medicines and impose strict penalties for not delivering. The Association of German Pharmacists' Associations (ABDA) requires:. Greater transparency: Manufacturers will announce bottlenecks faster. All actors must be integrated into a central information system. , More Choices: Insurance companies have to enter into discount contracts with several manufacturers. At the pharmacy, the replacement of the available drug must be easier. , Minor exports: Exports of finished medicines related to procurement, in which there is a deficiency or at least threatening, should be prohibited by law. , Multiple locations: Policies need to create framework conditions so that the production of active substances can be resumed stronger in Europe and adhere to quality standards. (Source: ABDA Fact, October 2019)

Also in Bad Tölz district there are medicines coming out. Tölzer's doctor talks of a "disaster" for his patients.