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Local pharmacies hit by medicine shortage

A shortage of medicines is adding to the misery of Galway GPs and pharmacists amid the ongoing crisis in healthcare.

That’s according to local pharmacist and spokesperson for the Irish Pharmacy Union, Dr Barra Nevin, who said HSE advice to avoid overcrowded hospitals had heaped pressure on GPs and pharmacists.

Adding to that pressure was the ongoing situation where pharmacists are required to contact GPs if they need to swap ‘short’ medications for an appropriate alternative – particularly as antibiotic shortages arise, said Dr Nevin.

“In recent months, we have seen a new phenomenon of medicine shortages. Community pharmacists and their teams are working hard to keep on top of it – in summer, we had a shortage of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Now, we are seeing shortages of antibiotics and other medicines.

“For any given ‘short’ antibiotic, there are different ones available within the same class, and there are even step-ups for antibiotics for the same infectious condition,” continued Dr Nevin, who stressed that patients need not be concerned that medication would be unavailable to them.

The issue was that for every change, a call to each patients GP was required – and given the level of demand on both GPs and pharmacists in the current wave of respiratory infections, this was creating “unnecessary delay”.

“The pharmacist, an expert in medicine who has spent five years in university with a master’s degree – who already knows what antibiotic should be given – has to contact the doctor to get a replacement within the same class.

“This can take a long time due to the pressures being experienced by GPs at the moment,” said Dr Nevin, who owns Roscam Pharmacy in Galway City.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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