Chemists say medicine shortage puts lives at risk

Newly elected president of the Irish Pharmacy Union, Daragh Connolly, said patients sometimes wait weeks for a supply of what is often a very common medicine.

“Not only is this causing undue stress, fear, and anxiety for them, it is also putting their health at risk,” said Mr Connolly, a Waterford-based pharmacist.

At the close of the IPU’s annual conference in Dublin yesterday, members urged the Department of Health, the HSE, manufacturers, wholesalers and regulators to agree on a plan to tackle the supply problem.

A survey of IPU members in August last year revealed 99% had experienced medicine problems in the previous three months. Pharmacists also want the prescription levy to be phased out, with vulnerable patients exempted immediately.

The IPU welcomed Saturday’s announcement by Health Minister Leo Varadkar to introduce a pilot pharmacy-based minor ailment scheme over the next three months. The Irish College of General Practitioners is worried the development will further undermine general practice and that serious illnesses will not be picked up.

Meanwhile, a survey by Royal London shows 40% of Irish people say health is their primary focus this year, ahead of career (21%).


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