Health, Europe

Germany’s medicine shortage puts the squeeze on pharmacies

Situation is very bad in these days, especially for sick children, Berlin pharmacist Julian Wawrzyniak tells Anadolu Agency

Sal Ahmed  | 29.12.2022 - Update : 30.12.2022
Germany’s medicine shortage puts the squeeze on pharmacies


Germany is facing shortages of many common medications, putting the squeeze on pharmacies and leaving parents across the country in a desperate state.

Anadolu Agency spoke to a pharmacist in Berlin who called the situation very serious, with parents struggling to find medicine for their children.

“The situation is very bad at the moment, especially for children, as we can hardly supply them with medicines,” said Julian Wawrzyniak, adding that more than 300 medicines are currently unavailable.

“There are different reasons for this, partly due to the war in Ukraine, also partly due to the global supply chain issues, the coronavirus, high energy prices, production costs … the producers are facing big challenges,” he said.

Another major problem has been the drug-pricing system in Germany, as public health insurance funds are not paying more than the legally set price for generic medicines.

Although the German government recently announced adjustments to the system, Wawrzyniak said there has been no immediate change in the situation.

“On the contrary, I have the feeling that it may get worse because for the time being, as even cough syrup isn’t available,” he said.

“I hope that things will get better, and of course, if politicians take the measures, but I don’t see this at the moment. I hope things will get better maybe before the spring,” he added.

Pharmacies feeling the heat

According to the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, the drugs currently unavailable in the country include antibiotics, diabetes drugs, cancer drugs, antihypertensives, and painkillers.

A major reason for the supply bottlenecks is a lack of deliveries from countries such as China and India, according to the BfArM.

Some 80% of medications sold in the country are generics produced in countries like China and India. In the case of antibiotics, for example, generics have a 100% market share in Germany.

Wawrzyniak told Anadolu Agency that the medicine shortage had put pharmacies under immense pressure in recent weeks.

“We have conversations with patients each and every day, we have to tell them we don’t have these drugs, or that we can’t order them,” he explained

“Sadly we have to send them away empty-handed. It’s really sad because this is about people’s health, and well-being. And moreover, we can’t do our job, we can’t help them with the medicine,” he added.

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