Spanish pharmacies report long delays in hundreds of medications amid Europe drug shortage

Spanish pharmacies have reported long delays in hundreds of different kinds of medication as Europe grapples with a drug shortage. 

Spanish pharmacies had a hard time supplying 403 different types of drugs last year, including for cardiovascular, neuromuscular, digestive, and respiratory diseases, according to the General Pharmaceutical Council of Spain (GPCS).

The problem is 150% worse now than it was in 2021, the Madrid-based council said, as procuring those drugs takes up to four to five weeks longer than it once did.

GPCS Director Antonio Blanes Jimenez said the drug shortage problem had been felt since 2019.

“The situation had improved during the pandemic and grew worse again in 2022,” he said.

Limitations placed by China and India on the export of raw materials needed for drug production and shipment and output-related problems caused by the Russia-Ukraine war were the main drivers of the shortage.

Also pointing to the role of low drug prices in Spain, Jiminez said current data and trends did not paint an optimistic picture for 2023.

Patients should remain calm, however, as pharmacies can still provide generic medications in most cases, he added.


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