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21 June, 2024
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Critical shortages of Ozempic spark health concerns in Cyprus

Non-medical demand strains supplies, putting patients at risk; urgent calls for responsible use and access


The availability of injectable preparations for diabetes treatment has reached critical levels in Cyprus, raising alarm among health authorities and patient advocates. The surge in demand for these drugs, driven by non-diabetic individuals seeking weight loss and aesthetic benefits, has depleted stocks, leaving those who rely on them for medical reasons at risk.

Haralambos Papadopoulos, President of the Federation of Patients' Association, highlighted the urgency of the situation, stating, "Stocks are depleting rapidly, with no direct imports to Cyprus. The agency is scrambling to procure these formulations through opportunistic purchases to ensure continued access for beneficiaries."

The Federation of Cyprus Patients' Associations (OSAA) issued a statement urging responsible use and distribution of injectable diabetes medications. The widespread off-label use of these drugs, particularly GLP-1RA injectables like Ozempic and Victoza, for weight management and aesthetic purposes, has led to unprecedented demand, straining global supplies.

This surge in demand, coupled with reduced availability, poses a significant risk to individuals with diabetes who rely on these medications for their health and well-being. Despite being medically necessary for many, access to these treatments is increasingly limited due to the surge in non-medical use.

Health authorities, including the Health Insurance Agency, have been alerted to the issue for weeks. During recent procurement processes, none of the companies supplying these drugs to Cyprus expressed interest, citing dwindling stocks from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

In response, OSAA has initiated special procedures to address the shortages, although solutions remain in progress. The organization emphasizes the importance of prioritizing access for those with medical indications, urging healthcare providers and citizens to ensure these drugs reach those in need.

Moreover, OSAA calls upon pharmaceutical companies to prioritize patient welfare and negotiate the inclusion of their products in healthcare systems like the General Health Scheme (GHS), demonstrating goodwill and responsibility toward their clientele.

As efforts continue to navigate the challenges posed by the global shortage of injectable diabetes preparations, healthcare stakeholders remain vigilant in safeguarding access to essential treatments for those who depend on them for their health and quality of life.

Cyprus  |  health  |  diabetes

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