46% of the Portuguese medicine users have faced drug shortages in Pharmacies, study finds

June 3, 2013 | By Márcio Barra

Almost half of the Portuguese users can’t find the medicines they need, according to a study commissioned by APIFARMA to the consultancy agengy Deloitte. Re-stocking difficulties have worsened since last year.

This is the second time that Deloitte conducts this study, and the results show that from 2012 until May 2013, the issue with medicine shortages hasn’t really improved, and has actually worsened.  

122 pharmacies were inquired in this study and all of them admitted supply disruption. 75 physicians were inquired, 77% of which declared that they were confronted with patients who were unable to buy their prescribed medicine. Both pharmaceuticals and physicians stated that the lack of medicine supply has a negative impact on adherence to therapy, as evidenced by the numbers: one third of the physicians confirmed that their patients have stopped taking the prescribed medicine, and 41% delay the start of the therapy.

88 medicines were mentioned to be out of stock by inquired pharmaceuticals in the last month. The 300 inquired users pointed to a bigger number, 212 medicines. In average, 19 days is the time it takes for a sold out medicine to be restocked. In some cases, it can take 40 days.

Treatments for the central nervous system continue to lead the list of out of stock medicines. They are followed by drugs for the respiratory system, which have doubled from November last year to May 2013.

The main reasons pointed out by pharmacies for these supply disruptions are the lack of medicines for sale by the distributers (80% of the inquired pharmacies) or by the pharmaceutical companies (52%). Parallel exportation was only mentioned by 14% of the inquired pharmacies. The successive price cuts have been pointed out as the main reason.

Of the 300 inquired patients, the most mentioned out of stock medicine was Metformin, for diabetes.


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