Sunday , June 20 2021

Lack of national paracetamol leads to limitations

The pharmacist has been told to limit the number of paracetamol tablets that are given due to the national shortage of drugs that are most popular in the country.


photo: 123RF

About one million paracetamol tablets are released each day, and two containers must be imported each month.

Stocks are less and new materials are not expected until the New Year.

One month ago, the Pharmac Pharmacy Agency wrote to pharmaceutical pharmacists in the country telling them to put restrictions on the way the drug was released.

Operations director Lara Williams said the shortage was caused by problems at manufacturing facilities abroad.

"One of the manufacturers of the active pharmaceutical ingredient in the world had a fire that caused the plant's problem with product production," she said.

"This means that all manufacturers of finished paracetamol products find it difficult to gain access to the active ingredient."

These limitations mean patients who have had acute pain, can receive up to 100 tablets at the same time – about 12 days.

And those with chronic illness can get up to 240 tablets, about a month of supply.

The restriction applies only to paracetamol purchased on prescription – it is still possible to buy a drug from the shelf in a chemist or supermarket.

Doctors like Meline Holmes, who owns Unichem Pharmacy in Whanganui, said they had come from a limitation site where they saw the amount of paracetamol forgiven by a pharmacist for about two-thirds.

But she said that such limitations also affect pharmacies and the public, including additional time in talking to clients and calling a doctor.

"Which means we need to make extra amounts of these drugs, which is an extra time to spend on staffing, marking, farms and boxes," she said.

"It also means that it is a disadvantage for the buyer, they have to return monthly to some drugs when they come every three months for that particular medicine."

"Nobody compensates the pharmacy or the customer for that inconvenience," she said.

She said the problem with paracetamol tablets came after the limitation on paracetamol fluids and ibuprofen ibuprofen tablets had just been abolished.

Holmes, who has been a pharmacist for 20 years now, said it was a worrying trend, and the number of restrictions seemed to be on the rise.

"Even five years ago, if we had a lack of medication, it was very rare," she said.

"And now, if you look at the last six months, it becomes a little joke about a pharmacy, you go," which is inaccessible this week? ".

"We have a plate in our pharmacy and we write everything out of stock."

But, Pharmacoville Lisa Williams said she was easier access to drugs – part of the world's trend – it is rare that the lack of influence affects pharmacists or the public.

She said that Pharmac was trying to contract drugs through a single supplier, the country had fewer suspicions for patients than other countries.

Pharmac has also begun to finance the alternative, although it is also limited in supply.

Williams thought it would probably not pass the land.

"There are many other pain remedies that could be used, that would be what doctors should consider prescribing."

If these medicines are more expensive, Pharmac will compensate for pharmacies and seek compensation from paracetamol suppliers.

"But I think that's probably a scenario," she said.

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