Oct 18, 2021
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Pandemic Has Reduced Availability of Dementia Medicines in Most Countries

To assess the impact of the pandemic on the availability of drugs for dementia, experts from the Alzheimer’s Association compared the sales of these drugs in the first three months of 2020 with the indicators of 2019, and then in the next three months, when most countries imposed urgent restrictions. The analysis included 34 countries in North America and Europe, including Russia.

The results showed that in the first three months, before COVID-19 became a worldwide problem, sales of prescription dementia drugs increased in most countries (82.3%). The biggest jump took place in March, in particular, in Russia the number of dispensed drugs increased by more than 50% compared to the same period last year. Belarus was the leader with a 59% increase in sales. In contrast, some countries have seen a sharp decline: in Denmark, for example, the volume of dispensed drugs for dementia has decreased by almost a third.

In the period from April to June 2020, after the introduction of quarantine in 30 countries, experts noted a decrease in drug sales. “Anti-record” was set by Romania – a decrease of more than 40% compared to 2019. In Russia, a slight decrease was observed in May and June (5-6%).

The experts explained that the increase in sales in the first three months was due to the fact that patients and hospitals were eager to stock up on essential drugs ahead of possible disruptions. However, in many countries, including high-income countries (UK and Luxembourg), the sharp decline in pre-quarantine sales was not accompanied by an increase after the restrictions were lifted. According to the authors of the study, this may indicate a decrease in the availability of such drugs in general.

“As a result, the provision of pharmaceutical care to patients with dementia may be seriously impaired in some countries,” experts from the Alzheimer’s Association warned.

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