60% of Irish people have been impacted by the recent shortage of medicines, a survey by Amárach Research has found.
For months, patients have been experiencing shortages and the Medicine Shortages Index is currently at a record high; there are now 289 medicines unavailable in Ireland - a figure up 50% in six months.
Out of stock medicines include Aspirin 75mg and treatments for blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression and anxiety.
Azure Pharmaceuticals CEO Sandra Gannon, who commissioned the research, described the figures as a “wake-up call” for politicians.
“These findings, coupled with a new record high in the number of shortages, reflects the worsening nature of this issue since it first emerged at the start of 2020,” she said.
“Policymakers have yet to fully grasp its cause and effect.
“Month-by-month, we have seen the numbers grow; 60% of the public have been impacted and after a notably bad period of weeks, a new record high has been reached.
“Yet despite the trend over a prolonged period, the policy response continues to be defensive or non-existent.”
Ms Gannon said other European countries had responded to the crisis by improving their data reporting, finding new suppliers and increasing prices.
Last month, the Department of Health told Newstalk shortages are “primarily due to manufacturing issues.”
They also said the problem is “not unique to Ireland” and there are alternatives to many medicines in short supply.
“Whilst individual brands or strengths of a medication may be temporarily unavailable, for most medicines supplied in Ireland, there are alternatives, such as different strengths, brands or similar classes, to ensure continuity of care,” a spokesperson said.
The Department has been contacted for an updated comment.
Main image: A woman sorts medicines in a logistics centre. Photo: Oliver Berg/dpa