It is more and more difficult to find medicines in Primorye every day. Meanwhile, the season of influenza and SARS is on the nose. What is this - a general shortage of drugs against the backdrop of a pandemic or problems with labeling in the Honest Mark system, which provides for the application of special codes for certain groups of goods? The PRIMPRESS correspondent conducted his own investigation and found out which drugs are missing on the shelves of Primorye pharmacies and what exactly this is connected with.
Last month, and even more seriously - the last two weeks in Primorye, there has been a shortage of a large number of medicines, the main list of which consists of antiviral drugs. The question is brewing: is the coronavirus dictating its own rules or is it a puncture in the labeling system? One way or another, the shortage of antiviral drugs in the autumn season is not a paradoxical phenomenon, since a large number of diseases occur just in the middle of it. A little later, the flu will arrive, but in the meantime, due to the long supply of heating and the rapid cold snap, people continue to get sick. At the same time, the coronavirus pandemic is in full swing, and the number of infected is only growing.
Before going in search, our correspondent got acquainted with the list of necessary drugs that doctors recommend for the prevention and treatment of coronavirus. This list includes Arbidol, Ingavirin, Grippferon and Miramistin. Depending on the patient's condition, the doctor usually chooses what is needed and prescribes additional medications for the treatment of symptoms: if the temperature persists, he adds antibiotics - "Azithromycin" or "Amoxiclav"; if a sore throat hurts, Lizobakt is prescribed for its treatment. To improve immunity, it is recommended to drink a course of vitamins C and D. Based on this list, the pharmacies of the city of Vladivostok were checked, and the necessary information was collected on various analogues of the missing drugs.
In addition to the drugs prescribed by doctors, Sumamed, Levofloxacin and Ceftriaxone, as well as Cefotaxime and Umifenovir began to rapidly disappear in pharmacies.
“Many have probably already thought through their plans for stocks, so they are buying up all the antiviral drugs and antibiotics that come to hand in fear that the coronavirus pandemic will never end. Many do not even think that they can harm themselves by self-medication,”says Tatyana Nesterenko, Deputy Head of Roszdravnadzor in the Primorsky Territory.
When you ask at the checkout a question about what antiviral drugs are available, they offer Cycloferon (200 rubles) and Polyaxidonium, which costs 900 rubles. There is no Arbidol, Ingavirin or Grippferon. When asked when they will appear, pharmacists often give an ambiguous answer. But most often: "There are no suppliers yet." Somewhere there have been no deliveries for two weeks, somewhere even more. Nevertheless, experienced pharmacists offer a variety of analogues of what does not exist. So it’s too early to panic.
"Anaferon", "Ergoferon" and "Kagocel" are another set offered in pharmacies. Sometimes there is "Miramistin", but much less often than before. In connection with the problem of labeling "Arbidol" and "Azithromycin", the workers of pharmacies say, their deliveries are not expected in the near future.
Pharmacists also suggest replacing Grippferon nasal drops with Viferon ointment or gel, since the drugs have one active ingredient. The cost of "Viferon" varies from 170 to 200 rubles, it can be bought everywhere, unlike "Grippferon", the price of which can reach 945 rubles.
The most serious problem, according to pharmacy workers, is not the coronavirus itself, but the labeling system adopted back in July. According to the business weekly "Competitor", under this system, called "Honest Sign", each step of the drug packaging must be transferred to the system, which, as it were, "passes" the goods. Currently, the problem is that the system takes a very long time to respond, which disrupts supply chains.
Another answer to the question, where did the necessary drugs go from the shelves, was the statement of the head of one of the Vladivostok pharmacies, Elena Perchenkova:
“There has never been such a need for antiviral drugs in previous years. Obviously, this is the fault of a single list of medicines for the prevention and treatment of the same virus. Any medicine has always been produced in a certain mode. The factories are the same. Now they simply cannot cope. Naturally, with such a demand, a certain list of drugs will disappear from the shelves. In addition to the fact that people get sick en masse, many buy antiviral drugs "in reserve". There is a possibility that when everyone has stocked up on the necessary drugs, the excitement will subside, and the drugs will return to the shelves again."
Many pharmacists recommend ordering the necessary drugs through the sites that most of the large pharmacy chains have. So the likelihood that there is at least something is higher.
And while the season of flu, colds and SARS is expected, the situation with antiviral drugs will be about the same as it was not so long ago with masks and gloves, pharmacists predict.