The popular antidepressant made in the United States has virtually disappeared from pharmacies in major Russian cities, domestic media reported.
Russia is experiencing a serious shortage of Prozac, a popular antidepressant, the RBK newspaper reported on Saturday. This comes six months after the pill’s American manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company, announced its decision to withdraw from the Russian market.
The antidepressant is virtually absent from pharmacies in several major Russian cities, RBK said, revealing that only four pharmacies out of 2,400 in Moscow reported having the drug in stock as of September 15.
In St. Petersburg, two pharmacies out of 1,300 reported having this drug. In Kazan and Novosibirsk, they were nowhere to be found, the media outlet said, citing data provided by an online aggregator monitoring Russian pharmacies.
Several major Russian pharmacy networks also confirmed the Prozac shortage to an RBK correspondent, saying they did not have the drug in stock and were unaware of possible future supplies. The Association of Independent Pharmacies, a group of 220 drug trading companies, told RBK that its members cannot acquire Prozac from their usual suppliers.
Russia’s Health Ministry said Saturday it was not aware of any shortages of the antidepressant, despite media reports. A total of 12 fluoxetine-based antidepressants, including Prozac, are registered and authorized for civilian circulation in Russia, the ministry said in its statement.
Nearly 2 million packets of antidepressants were authorized for sale this year, the statement said, adding that this number included more than 41,000 packets of Prozac. The last time it was supplied to the national market was at the end of July, the Health Ministry said.
Under Russian law, a manufacturer is required to notify Russia’s health watchdog, Roszdravnadzor, of its decision to withdraw its medicines from the Russian market at least 12 months before the decision takes effect. Russian authorities have received no such notification regarding Prozac, Roszdravnadzor said.
Eli Lilly initially announced plans to remove certain “non-essential” drugs from the Russian market in March 2022 after the outbreak of conflict between Moscow and kyiv. The company continued to sell most of its drugs, including Prozac, but announced last March that it would withdraw from the Russian market completely. It sold the rights to sell its drugs in Russia to the Swiss company Swixx Biopharma.
Prozac is a popular antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder.
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