Drug imports marked a significant increase in October, reaching a historical record, with the exception of one month in 2014.
According to INSTAT data, imports of pharmaceutical products in October amounted to ALL 2.7 billion, or 22 million euros. This figure is 42% higher than the monthly average of January-September and 34% higher than the monthly average of 2019.
Doctors, pharmacy representatives and pharmacists contacted by Monitor said the main reason for the increase was the situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic, where the massive spread of the virus since September, which has continued to peak, has boosted the use of more drugs.
The highest demand has been for antibiotics, even for the strongest ones, for which doctors have often warned that they are being used without criteria. Representatives of pharmaceutical warehouses said that there is a very high demand for vitamin C, and they are even facing a problem with the supply of this product, as all over the world there is an increased use of it. In addition to vitamin C, there is a high demand for vitamin D.
Cortisone, anticoagulants are other drugs for which there has been an increased consumption, again associated with the pandemic.
Doctors and pharmacists claim that the demand for other drugs, mainly for the chronically ill has been stable, while the high growth of October imports is related to Covid-19.According to the countries, Italy is the main source of medicines in the country, with 14% of the total for October. Imports from this country increased by 14%.
The second country that has recorded the strongest growth of all is Switzerland (11.7% of the total). Imports from this country increased by 121% in October, compared to the monthly average of January-September. From this country come mainly products for hospital use, which are even more expensive in value.
Turkey is the third country to supply the Albanian market with medicines (10% of the total). Market actors claim that products from Turkey have penetrated the market due to the fact that they are cheaper.
For the 10-month period, total drug imports increased by only 1.5%. In March-April, after quarantine, pharmaceutical companies rushed to import, as the situation was uncertain, creating stocks, which led to a decline in imports in the following months, to rise again significantly in October, as a result of the increase of demand after the increase in Covid-19 cases.