Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said that the current shortage of Novo Nordisk’s Fiasp insulin vials, and the company’s warning about potential shortages across a range of its insulin products, is causing great concern among many families.
The Waterford TD said that the company’s early notification was a step in the right direction, but that more proactive surveillance of potential shortages is needed to give people certainty and reassurance that alternatives will be available.
He added that the supply of other products, such as HRT, is very limited and medicine shortages are likely to worsen in the coming months.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“I have heard from many people with diabetes, including worried parents, who are concerned about the continuity of insulin supply.
“Some are telling me that they have their supply but are concerned about future access, others are saying their pharmacist does not have the alternatives in stock.
“The current shortage of Novo Nordisk’s Fiasp insulin vials, and their warning about potential shortages across a range of its insulin products, is causing great concern among many families.
“The company’s early notification is a step in the right direction but more proactive surveillance of potential shortages is needed to give people certainty and reassurances that alternatives will be available.
“People with diabetes who are facing difficulties accessing the products they need must have ready access to a GP or diabetes specialists to ensure they get the right alternative.
“There must be proactive engagement with pharmacists to ensure they have a supply of appropriate alternatives.
“There are currently hundreds of products in short supply, and the list has been growing each month this year. This is part of a wider shortage of essential medicines which will continue due to global supply constraints.
“However, this is also a consequence of a failure in planning and in industrial development policy. Global shortages play a role, but these have been known for some time and have been coming down the tracks. Government has not reacted.
“We are likely to face a similar problem with HRT, as we did last year. We can see this happening already in other jurisdictions due to rapidly increasing demand.
“Government needs to be taking steps now to be prepared for when that happens. That includes incentivising domestic production as well as planning ahead for demand.
“There are also many products in short supply which could be substituted without placing additional burdens on GPs for changes to prescriptions, but pharmacists have not been empowered to do this.
“Government must legislate for serious shortage protocols to put pharmacists in the best possible position to tackle complications related to shortages as they arise.
“A proactive, strategic, and long-term government-led response is needed to ensure that the state is resilient when it comes to medicine shortages.”