‘No shortage’ of key medicines in Cyprus

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Health Ministry officials have refuted reports that Cyprus is facing a shortage of essential medicines such as antibiotics.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, Elena Panayiotopoulou, deputy director of the pharmaceutical services, said Cyprus is not in the same situation as other countries, with local producers issuing assurances that they can meet local demand.

The alarm was raised after hospitals were 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) announced last week that 25 of the 27 EU member states face a great shortage in antibiotics and treating patients.

The US, Canada, and China face similar problems.

However, Panayiotopoulou said: “We have been assured by the Cypriot pharmaceutical companies that they have stock so the domestic market can be satisfied.

“They assured us that there is no issue of shortages of medicines, at least at this stage.

“Europe and the rest of the world are facing a shortage of antibiotics and beta-lactam antibiotics due to the outbreak of strep infections.”

Other reasons for the shortages are the global energy crisis, the war in Ukraine and the inability to find raw materials from third countries such as China and India.

Eleni Piera, head of the pharmaceutical association, told Alpha TV: “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.”

Piera told Alpha TV that, at the moment, there are no serious shortages but urged patients not to pressure their GPs to hand out prescriptions for antibiotics when their doctor deems they are not needed.

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.