Strict restrictions on all medication in Norway

Oslo.Vitus Apotek.Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Only one pack of each non-prescription drug from the pharmacy is now allowed. There are also strict restrictions on prescription drugs to avoid hoarding.

– Now we have to show solidarity and avoid stock-piling. It may be that some people have a serious problem whilst others have too much medication that they do not even need, says Audun Hågå, Director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency to NTB.

In recent days there have been reports that the Swedish Medicines Agency is introducing rationing on drugs in order to avoid it running empty.

– It is simply hoarding that creates shortages. We had some insulin problems on Saturday, and we had problems with asthma medicines. In both of these cases, the problem arose because everyone went out to shop, says Hågå.

General rationing

In order to prevent things from running empty, the Swedish Medicines Agency has been authorised by the Ministry to ration the dispensing of medicines from the pharmacies.

– We have introduced limited dispensary on all prescriptions. That is, people will only get three months of normal supply of their prescription. This rule has always been in place for Blue prescriptions, but now it will be enforced for all types of prescriptions, says the director.

But rationing has also been introduced for all non-prescription drugs that are available in pharmacies. Only one package is allowed at any one time.

– We have to make sure that there are enough medicines on the shelves so that everyone who needs them can get hold of them.

For some medicines more stringent rationing has been introduced. This applies, among other things, to Acetaminophen, where the coronavirus has caused production problems.

– The rationing also applies to those who obtain Paracetamol on a white prescription. You will now only get 100 tablets at a time. When buying prescription-free paracetamol in a store or pharmacy, there is as usual a limit of one package per customer, says Hågå.

When it comes to diabetes medicines and insulin, pharmacies can now only supply medicines for up to one month’s consumption. Special restrictions have also been placed on malaria medicine and anti-inflammatory drugs (prenisolone).

Rumors of corona effect
There is also rationing on Plaquenil, which is used to treat rheumatism and used as a malaria medicine.

“The Swedish Medicines Agency has been notified of the Plaquenil hoarding. This is probably due to rumors that this medicine can be used against Covid-19. Plaquenil has been researched in many studies against Covid-19. Preliminary results show that it is highly uncertain whether this drug works against the coronavirus, ” wrote the Medicines Agency when the rationing was introduced on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Institute of Public Health reported that they only have a limited stock of the Pneumovax vaccine against pneumonia. There have already been several reports of pharmacies being sold out of the vaccine, and now only those with the highest risk of disease will be given priority in the delivery of these medicines.

The Directorate of Medicines hopes that the problem of hoarding will ease over the next few days.

– We will be watching closely what is happening going forward, says Hågå.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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