Coronavirus Italy, pharmacists alert from Milan to Palermo

Oxygen emergency, a lack of flu vaccines and non-Covid diseases to be treated and neglected for a long time. There is alarm throughout Italy, from Milan to Palermo, among pharmacists at the service of citizens, witnesses of the fear that is affecting the population after the increase in infections every day.

“There is a lot of fear, there is concern”. And the fear of getting sick with Covid-19 is sometimes so great that it leads to “not following one’s pathology, not going for specialist visits”. Pharmacies are aware of this every day, which since the beginning of the pandemic have kept their doors “always open”, reminds Adnkronos Salute Annarosa Racca, president of Federfarma Lombardia. Spotlights lit on the needs of the territory, “at the service of citizens by trying to help them in all ways, from the dematerialization of the prescription to the delivery of medicines at home”.

“It has been said how much strokes, heart attacks, cancer diagnoses have unfortunately increased” in Italy all folded into the war against the new coronavirus. Witnesses to this “fear” that sometimes paralyzes, “we pharmacists try to get a fundamental message: we must not be frightened – Racca warns – at the first hints we must still contact doctors and specialists. It is too, too important” not to neglect prevention and treatment of non-Covid diseases.

ROMA – And from many parts, in Italy, the problem of oxygen deficiency in pharmacies is being raised “but what is missing is not the content but the container, the cylinders. This happens because citizens too often, after use, do not they bring them back to the pharmacy, for various reasons, perhaps out of forgetfulness, perhaps because they took a cylinder 6 months ago, in the meantime the relative has died or no longer needs it and they have left it in the garage “. This was reported to Adnkronos Salute the president of Federfarma Rome, Andrea Cicconetti, who however reassures: “certainly there is an increase in use, but at the moment we have no particular shortage on Rome”.

“I have just heard from a couple of oxygen suppliers, who manufacture and load the cylinders – Cicconetti continues – who have just recommended me to recall the containers to the pharmacies, which in turn will do it to their customers, to bring back the cylinders that they have at home in the pharmacies where they were taken, “he explains.

“This morning the last tranche of 20 thousand doses of vaccine arrived” in the pharmacies of Rome and its province “which were sold out in 3 hours. With today’s one, we have dispensed 100 thousand doses, 20 thousand per week, provided to us by the Lazio Region, and intended for the 18-59 year-old age group (which does not fall within the protected categories), but the demand has always been very high “, continues Cicconetti, who explains:” There is no shortage, but those who arrive finish immediately, also because we work by appointment, and when available the patient who has booked finds him. Of course – he reflects – all this slows down the times, the vaccine ends immediately and perhaps there is a risk of arriving a little out of time in view of the wave of flu epidemic “.

Cicconetti also reminds that “last Friday the Lazio Region, since the vaccination centers are a bit late with their appointments, has expanded the age range that can collect the vaccine from pharmacies, again on medical prescription. Now it is scheduled. even those 6-19 years, so we expect, as promised, the sending by the Region of other vaccines “.

NAPLES – And there is an oxygen alarm in Campania too. “For about ten days the demand has increased strongly. In my pharmacy since Saturday I have no more oxygen cylinders and the shortage is serious”. A problem also linked to the fact that several patients “keep the containers at home, without returning them, even if they do not need them immediately”. Today, however, “the Region has authorized the sale of liquid oxygen to pharmacies, normally distributed by local health authorities: those who need it can book it with a prescription. And the distribution company is responsible for delivering the patient to the home. And this can represent a turning point” . Making the picture at Adnkronos Salute Michele Di Iorio, pharmacist from Naples, former president of the provincial Federfarma and currently a member of the Council of the association of Neapolitan proprietary pharmacists.

“Oxygen – explains Di Iorio – is not lacking as a substance. What is missing are the containers, the cylinders that are ‘lent’ to users. Now there is no normal circulation, since they are retained in a preventive form. ‘a phenomenon that has been recording in a more pronounced way in the past week “.

Several emergencies came together: “The negligence of those who took the cylinders without returning them, the need of those who, regardless of Covid, need oxygen, the citizens, who under the effect of the shortage alarm, stock up and the containers are kept at home. In this case, Covid selfishness risks doing damage “.

Liquid oxygen, on the other hand, “is managed directly by the company that also takes care of the cylinders. With this system there is no danger of dispersion of the containers. This is why this morning’s decision to distribute liquid oxygen through pharmacies, with prescription can improve the situation, “Di Iorio explains

On the flu vaccines front, the 11 doses that the Campania Region distributed to each of the 1,600 exercises ran out in one hour: “The vials arrived last Tuesday and ended immediately”, Di Iorio tells Adnkronos Salute. “At the moment the most requested drug in pharmacies – says Di Iorio – is precisely the flu vaccine. But, this year the Campania Region has purchased 2 million and 400 thousand doses and pharmacies have not had it available for the people who usually they buy it. A problem only slightly mitigated by the delivery of 11 ampoules for each pharmacy in Campania “. A number “too small”, according to Di Iorio.

“At least 30 doses would be needed for pharmacies. And we hope that the Region will be able to get us at least another 20 vials to distribute – he underlines – Otherwise there will be the most active segment of the population, which is also the one most exposed to influenza, totally vaccine-free. . And in the event that the pandemic worsens further, a differential diagnosis cannot be made. This year also vaccinating active people was particularly important to reduce diagnosis times for Covid “, concluded Di Iorio who this morning recalled” the company that distributes the vaccine. There are no new communications. But I am optimistic. Until the end of the month you can get vaccinated effectively “. At the moment “the Campania pharmacists are collecting reservations. And, in case, we will distribute according to the requests. In my pharmacy the reservations are already more than 20”.

PALERMO – “To date, influenza vaccines are not available in any pharmacy in Palermo, but the problem is at the provincial and even regional level. Insufficient doses have arrived, we are talking about just 12-13 at the pharmacy. This situation worries us a lot and also raises the question of overcoming Title V. It is clear that it is necessary to ensure the right to health from the North to the South of the country “, explains Roberto Tobia, president of Federfarma Palermo.

“There is a continuous dialogue with the regional councilor – adds Tobia – we hope to obtain a result in a short time, but there is a need to cut a lot of bureaucracy that does nothing but increase the workload of pharmacists already super stressed from the moment of emergency “.

And again: “There are very serious difficulties in finding the liquid medicinal oxygen, which is supplied through the cylinders from the pharmacies for oxygen therapy. The legislation – continues Tobia – has changed and it is no longer possible to use other containers, even if at Bergamo during the emergency, the companies were authorized. In addition, the legislation does not allow us to trace the people who perhaps keep the cylinders at home or in the countryside for an occasional supply which, however, today, with the Covid emergency, must pass second floor”.

But that’s not all: “We are noticing more and more people who come to pharmacies with requests for ‘do-it-yourself’ anti-Covid therapies. This is very dangerous’, he complains again.” They ask us for hydroxychloroquine, cortisone, various antivirals – he adds concerned Tobia – to then maybe make a ‘mix’ of these drugs. It is clear that we are trying to stop this type of phenomenon, but the demand linked to the current emergency is increasing “.

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