Cyprus Mail

Cyprus is not facing pharmaceutical shortages, officials say

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Officials denied that Cyprus is facing a shortage in key medicines such as antibiotics, amid reports of pharmacies running low.

Elena Panayiotopoulou, deputy director of the pharmaceutical services, said on Thursday that Cyprus is not in the same situation as other countries, with local producers having issued assurances that they can meet local demand.

There has been alarm in some quarters following reports of hospitals being inundated with patients seeking treatment, mainly for respiratory viruses, compounded by reports of shortages at pharmacies.

Panayiotopoulou confirmed that EU nations are facing shortages of antibiotics and beta-lactam antibiotics amid a wave of streptococcal infections.

She conceded that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said last week that 25 of the 27 member states are facing serious shortages and are facing challenges in treating patients. The situation is similar in the US, Canada, and China, she said.

However – Panayiotopoulou emphasised that: “We have been assured by the Cypriot pharmaceutical companies that they have stock so that the domestic market can be satisfied. They assured us that there is no issue of shortages of medicines at least at this stage.”

Elsewhere, Eleni Piera, head of the pharmaceutical association, told Alpha on Thursday that: “There is certainly a confluence of factors such as cold, flu and of course Covid but I wouldn’t say it’s above what we would expect during this season.”

She urged the public not to pressure their GPs to hand out antibiotics for such illnesses and warned against their use unless prescribed.

“There are no serious shortages at the moment,” she said, but conceded that there are some reductions in the availability of some medicines.

Piera attributed the slight shortages due to knock-on impacts from the measures imposed during the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, inflation, and energy costs. That reasoning was supported by Panayiotopoulou.

“This has led to lower overall production on a global level which has not yet materialised in Cyprus but it does worry us,” Piera said.

She further emphasised that there is almost always another product which stands in or does the same job as another, so there is not much cause for concern if one specific brand is running low.

Earlier this month, euronews reported that pharmacies across the UK and France are running out of a key antibiotic as doctors see a post-pandemic rebound in winter infections such as strep throat.

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