Anger over medicinal shortages

30 May, 2024

Complaints are mounting from Australian citizens against the government for relying on international supply of medicines instead of local production as the nation faces a “severe” shortage of pharmaceuticals.

It was revealed earlier this week that patients are unable to take their medications and some are cutting capsules in half and measuring the powder they contain for the correct dose.

According to the Herald Sun, more than 100 readers have reported that the government has failed to address the issue, which has worsened over the several months, calling for more domestic production of medications.

There are currently 424 unavailable medications listed on the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) website, up from 380 in March. These include 40 drugs in critical shortage, such as the anticoagulants warfarin, heparin and xylocaine used to reduce pain in childbirth.

Women who need hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to strengthen bones and manage menopause symptoms are forced to endure hot flashes, insomnia, headaches, mood swings, fatigue and aches and pains because these drugs are in short supply.

Pharmaceutical giant BAYER discontinued production of the hormone patch Climara at the end of 2023 and the three other types of HRT patches available in Australia are on the shortage list.

The Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) is calling for urgent action to address the shortage. The drastic shortages are occurring despite the government paying millions to pharmaceutical companies to guarantee supply under an agreement that began in 2022.

A spokesman for Health Minister Mark Butler said the problem of drug shortages is not unique to Australia. “The Albanese Government is committed to increasing Australia’s sovereign capacity in medical essentials through the creation of the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF)“.

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