Use of Antibiotics Up 47% Year on Year, Says Health Minister

The situation in the medicines market is set to stabilise in late February. Photo credit: Freepik.

Prague, Feb 13 (CTK) – The consumption of antibiotics in the Czech Republic has risen by 47% year-on-year in the first part of this year, which has affected the availability of certain drugs, but their use is now decreasing, Health Minister Vlastimil Valek (TOP 09) said at a press conference on Friday.

The situation in the medicines market is set to stabilise in late February, Deputy Health Minister Jakub Dvoracek told reporters.

Antibiotics in tablets are available already, but there is still a shortage of those in liquid form, Valek and Dvoracek noted.

The ministry has managed both to speed up drug supplies and get new drugs to the Czech market that were not available in the country before, Valek said. The decreasing demand is also helping stabilise the situation, he added.

He rejected criticism from the opposition that he was personally responsible for the lack of medicines, arguing that there were several reasons for the lack of medicines not just in the Czech Republic, but also in other countries, and this could not easily be controlled at the national level. He cited the limiting of production in China as well as the war in Ukraine, where a lot of medical products were made.

The production of drugs is planned about a year in advance, based on consumption figures from previous years. Thus, medicine production in the Czech Republic for this year was planned in early 2022, although consumption is considerably higher this year than in 2021, when the occurrence of some diseases was low due to the anti-epidemic measures, Valek said.

“The COVID-19 epidemic ended and a flu wave emerged, causing a relatively high number of sick people in a fairly short time,” he said.

The drug producers could not react fast enough, Valek noted, and at the same time people started buying some drugs in bulk to maintain reserves.

The minister also refused to link the current shortage of medicines with supplies being sent to Ukraine.

“We were sending drugs there at the end of last spring and the beginning of the summer,” he said, adding that it was mainly drugs used in acute medicine and for the treatment of wounds that were delivered to Ukraine, and not those against colds and tonsillitis.

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