Few and expensive: Anti-Covid and anti-influenza drugs in short supply
There are many people who are recently getting the flu. Everyone is now in pharmacies looking for medicines to combat this outbreak and despite the fact that traditionally these drugs rise in prices in December due to the flu processes that occur, the current situation is atypical due to Covid-19. FILE / LD
Santo Domingo, DR
There is currently a shortage of medicines in the local market, which the Association of Representatives, Agents and Pharmaceutical Producers Incorporated (ARAPF) associates to an excessive consumption in the last weeks by the population mainly due to the number of cases of influenza, the fear of the new variant of Covid-19 and the increase of flu-like processes typical of the date.
This low availability was mainly reflected in anti-flu, anti-allergic, and vitamins used to treat this type of condition, confirming the ARAPF.
Regarding the challenges presented by the global supply chain, ARAPF states that the local pharmaceutical sector took the necessary precautions to meet the demand for these drugs at Christmas time, which due to the change in weather, is usually higher than in other months of the year, allowing the logistical challenges not to impact the availability of medicines.
“However, due to the various viral conditions, the demand was higher than anticipated and because of this, the last weeks of the month witnessed a low availability of these products,” he said.
At the request of Listin Diario, the association explained that this low availability would not be prolonged and that in the next few days, these medicines would be supplied regularly, so this situation would not represent a major problem for the Dominican health system.
Many people have recently come down with the flu. They are all now in the pharmacies looking for anti-flu drugs to combat this outbreak, and although, according to one pharmacist, in January, drugs tend to go up in price, this year has a particularity.
Since December 25, 2021, according to an employee of a well-known local pharmacy, all anti-flu drugs are being highly sought after, which has increased the demand for these medicines.
The pharmacist commented to this newspaper that some anti-flu medicines have even sold out and that there is no information as to when they will reappear, as is the case of the Algho pill, which sells for RD$46 per sachet of two tablets, and of the honey, onion and watercress syrup which is worth RD$306, which is only available in a few of the pharmacies consulted by this newspaper.
Among the flu and cold medicines that increased in price was Broncochem in tablets of two, which went up from RD$25 to RD$30, while the syrup of the same brand increased from RD$225 to RD$250.
The collaborator of one of the pharmacies consulted indicates that the Winasorb anti-flu tablet went up between three and five pesos. Apart from Alghero, it is one of the medicines selling the most, running out quickly.
Antifludes capsules have had an increase of RD$25 to RD$30.
Even though the COVID infections of the Omicron variant have skyrocketed, another pharmaceutical company assured that Ivermectin has maintained its price and its demand is stable.
Prices of the best sellers
Listin Diario also compiled the prices of the most consumed generic drugs in the Dominican Republic. However, it wasn’t easy to evaluate if they have gone up since the pharmacies updated their systems with the costs. The collaborators consulted do not remember precisely the increase some of them might have.
Ponstan pills cost RD$35 per tablet. The sachet of two Winasorb capsules costs RD$15, and Sumigran Plus is RD$34 per unit.
Dorixina Relax costs RD$40 each, and acetaminophen MK goes for RD$7 a unit.
Dominicans frequently consume Loratadine (RD$30 a unit) and Cetirizine (RD$16 each) for allergies.
The compound Sertal, used for pain (RD$26 a unit) and Ranitidine (RD$9 a unit), and omeprazole, the latter two to protect the stomach.