Finnish Government has issued a decision requiring pharmacies to temporarily restrict the sale of certain salbutamol products. According to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the aim of the restriction on sales is to ensure the sufficiency and equal accessibility of these medicines to all patients throughout Finland.
The Ministry says that despite the pandemic caused by the coronavirus (koronavirus, in Finnish), the availability of medicines is generally at a good level in Finland. However, it has come to the attention of the Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) that the sale of so-called opening asthma medicines (salbutamol products) in particular has been significantly higher than normal, which has diminished sales stocks.
Salbutamol, also known as albuterol and marketed as Ventolin (Ventoline, in Finland) among other brand names, is a medication that opens up the medium and large airways in the lungs.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health thinks risk of availability problems will increase significantly if consumption continues beyond normal levels for a long time.
For that reason, they have decided that pharmacies may dispense a one-month quantity to their clients at a time.
Supply chain functioning
"The purpose of this measure is to ensure the sufficiency of the products," the Ministry emphasized.
The decisions of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health are based on the Emergency Powers Act and the decrees on the use of powers under the Act. The decisions will be in force until 13 May 2020.
Government says pharmaceutical supply chain is "currently mainly functioning smoothly."