How do pharmacists explain to patients that they don't have the medicines they need?

In partnership with The European Commission
How do pharmacists explain to patients that they don't have the medicines they need?
Copyright euronews
By Euronews
Share this article
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

Polish pharmacist Anna Milczarek-Alwaked tells Smart Health about the challenges she faces when key medicines are in short supply.

European Union health systems can't always deliver patients the medicines they need, due to either temporary shortages or the lack of availability of particular treatments in a given country.

So how do pharmacists explain the issue to patients and clients? Anna Milczarek-Alwaked is a pharmacist in Warsaw, Poland's capital. She shared her experiences with Smart Health.

"Sometimes patients become aggressive. They are unhappy that I don't have the medicine they need, and they clearly show their unhappiness.

"When all my explanations have already been undermined, I always do the same thing. I explain that there is just one manufacturer of the main substances. Everything relies on this manufacturer.

"I tell them that medicines have different prices in the European Union and in the world, and that, for the manufacturer, it's always more profitable to sell drugs where the prices are higher.

"Manufacturers export more to whoever has more purchasing power. This is what I explain to the patients.

"Of course, they are sometimes full of resentment. They come and say that they are chronically ill. I tell them I don't have what they need and they say they do not have the strength to go to lots of different pharmacies. They really need this medicine here and now.

"Then I repeat to them that I can't order this drug that they have been prescribed because, at this given moment, it's not available here.

Pharmacist Anna Milczarek-Alwaked serves a customer at her pharmacy in Warsaw, Poland.Euronews

"But they insist. They tell me how badly they need this treatment. Then sometimes I try to import medicines from abroad, from the European Union. But they have a much higher price. But if the patient really needs this medicine, they will pay any price to have the treatment provided.

"I have a very wide offer and I want every client to leave my pharmacy with a medicine. I'm not afraid to listen to their criticism or their comments. The main problem is the price. Most of the unhappy comments we heard of at the counter are about the price of the medicines."

Share this article

You might also like