Cyprus Mail

Drug shortages continue to dog Gesy

Five weeks into Gesy, the pharmaceutical association said drug shortages continue to persist in pharmacies mainly due to shortcomings of the Gesy software, which the health insurance organisation (HIO) assured it would be amending.

According to pharmaceutical association president Eleni Piera, shortages in certain drugs could be dealt with if the Gesy software allowed pharmacists to offer available alternative drugs with identical medicinal functions or allowed doctors to alter their prescriptions.

Instead, she said, false shortages are being created which brings about difficult situations for both pharmacists and the public.

Shortages are most acute in drugs for high blood pressure, cholesterol, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy, Piera said.

Piera added that the committees of the health ministry have been informed, which have decided to alleviate the problem to some extent by providing Gesy pharmacies with stocks from state pharmacies.

“We are also expecting some changes to the software which we have suggested to the HIO, so that the pharmacist can offer the cheapest available drug and not the one for which there may be a shortage,” Piera said.

Changes to the software are also expected to ensure that doctors are aware of drugs which are experiencing shortages in view of prescribing patients with available alternatives, Piera noted.

According to the HIO on Tuesday, the implementation of Gesy is being closely monitored and efforts are being made to tackle issues that arise, such as issues with the software, for which it said the best possible adjustments and upgrades will be made promptly.

The HIO said it was satisfied with the functioning of the healthcare system during the first five weeks of operation, noting that day by day the public is becoming increasingly accustomed to it.

So far, the HIO said, 476 out of the total 530 pharmacies have offered their services to Gesy, as have 146 medical laboratories and 15 radiodiagnostic centres.

The first five weeks of Gesy saw a sum of 237,359 visitations, of which 190,373 were conducted by GPs and 46,986 by specialist doctors, the HIO said.

It added that Gesy doctors wrote 157,306 prescriptions and 131,081 referrals for medical laboratory tests.

Overall, the HIO said that so far 637,000 people have registered as Gesy beneficiaries, while 1,159 doctors have joined the healthcare system – 384 GPs, 123 pediatricians, and 652 specialist doctors.

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