Expatica news

Pharmacies assure that there is enough medication for everyone following media scaremongering

5pharmacy medsThis morning national newspaper Correio da Manhã reported that there are pharmacies experiencing extreme medication shortages, to the point where insulin was being denied to diabetics. Pharmacies have denied this: “The supply of the country continues to be guaranteed”.

“There are Portuguese pharmacies running out of stocks of insulin, an essential product for diabetics, due to the concern caused by the pandemic of Covid-19”, wrote the Correio da Manhã this morning, telling the story of a diabetic who had to travel 340 kilometers , between Amadora and Pombal, to buy the amount of insulin he needed. However, the lack of stock was not confirmed by pharmacies.

A long list of health and pharmaceutical associations and societies have come out to voice their disagreeance with CM’s claim, including: The Portuguese Society of Diabetes (SPD), the Portuguese Society of Diabetes and Metabolism Endocrinology (SPEDM), the Diabetes Mellitus Study Group (NEDM) of the Portuguese Society of Internal Medicine (SPMI), the National Pharmacy Association (ANF), Portuguese Pharmaceutical Industry Association (APIFARMA), Infarmed, and the Portuguese Diabetic Protection Association (APDP).

According to the president of the APDP, José Boavida, at the root of the problem is an observed rush to pharmacies led by many diabetics, concerned about the country’s entry into a state of emergency in order to attempt to buy “reserves for three to six months.”

Ultimately it seems that this is a similar case to the recent toilet paper fiasco spreading worldwide. If you only buy as much as you need, all is well, however, if you panic-buy large quantities, you merely cause a greed-led shortage which must then lead to a period of stock replenishment.

However, due to contingency plans some companies are been sending out fewer insulin units than before, added Mr. Boavida. In order to support diabetics in this most critical phase, the association has a free phone line (21 381 61 61) to advise diabetics, and a pharmacy service that delivers medicines directly to people’s homes.

A source from the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Order cited by the Correio da Manhã spoke of a kind of “rationing” of insulin in pharmacies, thus giving out “little insulin, so that they do not run out”.

However, both the APDP and Infarmed ensured, after the article was published, that companies manufacturing insulin are in fact strengthening their back-up stock number to ensure that there are no supply failures during this phase of the state of emergency motivated by the pandemic.

“We want to reassure people with diabetes that may fear not having medication for the next few weeks. In view of the insulin scarcity report made today by the media, we spoke with Infarmed, who assured us that the companies that manufacture this medicine are strengthening stocks in order to ensure that there are no supply failures during this crisis that we are going through ”, explains the APDP president, in a statement sent to the media.

“However, we will continue to monitor this situation closely and advise all people with diabetes to contact us to purchase only the quantities of drugs they really need so that there is no delay in restocking stocks at pharmacies. Hoarding is serious when it comes to food products and also when it comes to medicines”, concluded Mr. Boavida.

In a joint statement, the main pharmacy associations, mentioned at the beginning of this article, are unanimous in their message: “The country continues to ensure the supply of insulins necessary for the health of the Portuguese people, and this medicine continues to be made available to diabetic patients in Portugal”. According to this document sent out to journalists, “the main pharmaceutical companies operating in the field of insulins have supplied the market with an additional 20% stock of medication.”