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Drug shortage in Europe and medical help from Cuba

Nearly 500 Cuban health workers have been sent to Calabrian hospitals amid Italy’s severe shortage of doctors. Since 2021, over 11,000 healthcare workers have left the public system. Discouraged and tired doctors take early retirement, join the private sector or go abroad. Meanwhile, Calabria is one of the poorest regions in Western Europe, so the local authorities turned to Cuba, famous for sending medical teams worldwide. These “overseas medical brigades” generate considerable revenue for the Cuban government, saving the country economically.

To maintain the security of its medical products supply, the Netherlands intends to expand its partnership with India to increase the availability of high-quality medicines and health products for its patients. According to former Dutch Minister of Health Ernst Kuipers, Europe will not be able to achieve self-sufficiency in the security of supplies of medicines and medical devices shortly. A recent European Association of Hospital Pharmacists study shows that 95% of hospital pharmacists across Europe regularly experience medicine shortages.

There is also a shortage of medicines in Great Britain – according to the British Generic Manufacturers Association, in December 2023, the list of medicine shortages included 96 products. There was a shortage, for example, of Tegretol CR, a drug with psychotropic, antiepileptic and neurotropic effects, drugs for high blood calcium levels for people with cancer, and drugs used to treat chest pain of cardiac origin, heart failure and oesophagal spasms.

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