Spanish pharmacies have a hard time supplying 403 different types of drugs, including for cardiovascular, neuromuscular, digestive, and respiratory diseases.

Pharmacies are only able to provide generic medications in most cases
Pharmacies are only able to provide generic medications in most cases (Jon Nazca / Reuters Archive)

As Europe continues facing a severe shortage of drugs, Spanish pharmacies have reported long delays in hundreds of different kinds of medication last year.

The problem is 150 percent worse now than it was in 2021, the Madrid-based council said on Friday, as procuring those drugs takes up to four to five weeks longer than it once did.

Speaking to Anadolu, GPCS Director Antonio Blanes Jimenez clarified that the drug shortage problem is nothing new, having been felt since 2019.

"The situation had improved during the pandemic and grew worse again in 2022," he said.

Limitations placed by China and India on the export of raw materials needed for drug production and shipment and output-related problems caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict were the main drivers of the shortage, said Jimenez.

No real reason for shortage

Also pointing to the role of low drug prices in Spain, he said current data and trends did not paint an optimistic picture for 2023.

He further added that patients should remain calm, however, as pharmacies can still provide generic medications in most cases.

A pharmacist Maria Carmen Sanz complained about the increasing problems in drug supply, with more than half of their daily orders not arriving.

"Our patients who come to us for drugs, unfortunately, leave empty-handed. What's worse is that we don't know the real reason behind the drug shortage. No explanation is given to us," she said, adding that many of the shelves in her store remained empty.

"We order the drugs early but we don't know when they will come, or if they will at all," she said.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies