Historical Archive

Official Gazette of the Sicilian Region.

ROME - The investigation is local, the problem national. Federfarma Salerno has set up an ad hoc commission which will have the task of monitoring the situation of about twenty medicines that are missing in Italian pharmacies or difficult to find on the national market. The suspicion, advanced by industry experts, is that the drugs are diverted to the parallel market and then exported to foreign countries, where the price is higher.

The lucrative phenomenon has been brought to light by various pharmacists, but has only recently reached such widespread and worrying levels. According to what has emerged, various pharmacies, wholesalers and specialized companies "rake up" large quantities of drugs from the market and then aggregate them and export them to markets where the drugs are marketed at higher costs.

Among the most sought-after and practically unobtainable medicines in most Italian pharmacies are the so-called "quota": Clexane, Cymbalta, Questran, Requip, Seroquel, Sinemet, Tegretol, Xeristar.

The phenomenon of the parallel market and the practice of importing and exporting medicines are obviously not appreciated by the manufacturers. To avoid them, the pharmaceutical industries have resorted to the so-called "microbrik", i.e. the rigorous subdivision of the Italian territory, with a specific maximum requirement. Basically, the drug is placed on the territory in small predefined quantities, established by wholesaler or by individual pharmacy.

However, the efforts do not seem to have obtained the desired results, since a worrying number of wholesalers and pharmacies are reportedly dedicating themselves to raking large quantities of medicines from the market and then shipping them abroad.

And to say that the practice, however lucrative, has nothing illegal about it. The law that allows it is contained in the so-called "Bersani Decree". A decree which, incidentally, had very different purposes, but which in the end is causing damage to the world of traditional pharmaceuticals.

The export of medicines can in fact be exercised thanks to an authorization available since 2006, i.e. since the rule which established the prohibition of overlapping between the actual pharmaceutical activity and that of the wholesaler was cancelled.

Result: an increasing number of pharmacists have taken to the wholesale trade, raking up on the national market those medicines that are subject to quotas, and therefore scarcely available from manufacturers or institutional wholesalers.

Pharmacies of this type, sector experts explain, are usually in contact with commercial operators who purchase batches of medicines and then export them to foreign countries where the price rises exponentially.

Which means making profits in large quantities, but at the same time

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco