Historical Archive


The Press of 11/01/2008 p. 10  

Patients forced to throw away products that are still effective

MARCO NEIROTTI SENT TO MILAN A nylon bag on the scales. Weight: three kilos. Total of the individual objects: 52. Total of the prices printed on the packages: 421 euros. All to throw away. Content: medicines purchased, medicines "passed" by the health service with co-payment. All expired. Antipyretics and eye drops, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, cortisone and cough syrups, charcoal, antihistamines, ointments for bruises and tendonitis, painkillers. Budget of any family, husband, wife, an adolescent son, no constant pathology except a "high blood pressure". The rest is occasional, from toothache to colic. Multiplied by just five million families of every social category, according to estimates by consumer lawyers, almost three billion euros ended up in special containers, in "sorted waste" bins, in deep woods and became landfills without having to go to Naples. Governments - of whatever color - blame general practitioners who "write about everything", "consumers" who ask for everything. The users, i.e. the real or Molierian patients, accuse the companies of shortening the expiration dates, the companies reply that the dates are a protection and it is guaranteed that the drug that has expired for two or three years, bad luck, has less powerful effects, but not harmful. When in doubt, jump. When in doubt, try it, some gastric discomfort has been seen. In reality, these emptied bathroom or bedroom cabinets, these billions of euros, are the concentration of the user's miseducation, the doctor's levity and then a cobweb of precautions and at the same time the interests of the masters of chemistry. Professor Silvio Garattini, of the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, authoritatively explains on this page that economic interests, self-defense on the consequences, speculation, refusal of alternatives, medical laziness, miseducation of the user are an extraordinary mix for private expenses (2 euros per item in prescription, 1 euro if it is a generic drug, nothing if you are exempt or with proven disabling pathology), public (there is a discount, higher, if the cost is higher, of pharmacies to public health services), disposal or recovery. But how did all this come about? The laziness of the buyer Let's take the three-kilo bag of a family of three. Pack of 10 fever suppositories for 4.80 euros: throw away four. But there are 20 tablets of the same brand and 12 are thrown away. And, again, the same brand, there's the syrup: half of it goes away. There are two multivitamins (15 euros) and two out of 14 sachets of the first have been used, of the second five out of 30 tablets. Same product, same dates. The most frequent phenomenon is going out to the doctor or hospital with the prescription. Direct to the pharmacy, pack on the bedside table and go. He was already at home, but haste and anxiety took their toll. Another example. Antihistamine. Three different packs with different names, threw out the 70%. Anti-inflammatory, three packs of two different brands, via the 80%. Antibiotic. Same house, three half-full and expired packs. The game of doses This is the most painful point. Without prejudice to the laziness of the patient, the choices of companies are curious. Some anti-inflammatories should take effect in a few days, but the amount is good for a month. The antibiotics last for a week and each pack has them sometimes for two or three days. It is pure market. If you're lucky you don't need it, throw it away and I've earned. If unfortunately you still need them, you buy them in groups of three at a time. I d

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