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Pharmacists warn lack of vital medicines may endanger patients

The head of the Irish Pharmacy Union has said it is unacceptable that pharmacists and patients have put up with medicine shortages.

Image: Rob Brewer via Flickr/Creative Commons

A SHORTAGE OF vital medicines is posing a risk to the health of some patients, Irish pharmacists have warned.

The head of the Irish Pharmacy Union has said that pharmacists and patients have put up with medicine shortages for a number of years and described the situation as unacceptable.

Speaking at its annual conference in Galway, the incoming president of the IPU called on the Department of Health to ensure an adequate supply of vital medicines is constantly available to minimise threats to patient safety.

“For a number of years pharmacists and patients have had to put up with medicine shortages, causing significant distress all round,” said Rory O’Donnell.

The latest example is the shortage of Eltroxin, a drug used to treat thyroid problems, a common disorder. It is not acceptable in this day and age that the health of some patients is compromised due to a shortage of medicines.

O’Donnell said that pharmacists typically receive little or no warning that medicines are going out of stock and little information about when supplies will be replenished.

The Department of Health has a responsibility to ensure that that there is an adequate supply of vital medicines. They need to take their responsibility to patients seriously and take immediate steps to solve the existing problems of medicine shortages.

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Christine Bohan

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