Health minister denies scarcity of medications

Pharma-Israel: “serious shortage” of drugs expected when new Arabic and Russian language requirements take effect next month.

Perscription drugs (photo credit: Courtesy, Health Ministry)
Perscription drugs
(photo credit: Courtesy, Health Ministry)
There will be no shortage of prescription drugs on May 1, Health Minister Yael German declared on Thursday, despite Pharma-Israel representatives in the pharmaceutical industry saying they cannot meet a new law requiring Arabic and Russian explanations on drug packages and on leaflets inside.
“They had plenty of time to prepare for the change,” German said. “They are showing contempt for the public. There won’t be a lack of drugs. We have a solution,” she said, but did not give details. She said the deadline for the package improvements had already been delayed once, last August.
The ministry also wants the companies to have a three-month supply of each drug in their warehouses so that none run short.
Pharma-Israel, however, said that a “serious shortage” of drugs is expected when the new requirements take effect next month.
“There will be 21 million packages in our warehouses that don’t meet the requirements, so they cannot be sold,” the importers and manufacturers said.
They added that because most of the drugs are products of international companies, the changes are more complicated and take more time.
The industry, represented by the Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturers’ Association, called on German to delay the deadline and allow the medications to be sold anyway. They pleaded with German to hear their complaints.
Before the elections, ministry professionals were willing to put off implementation of the change until the beginning of next year by amending the law, but German opposed it.