Despite coronavirus, pharmacies are dispensing less medicine
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    Despite coronavirus, pharmacies are dispensing less medicine

    Credit: Belga

    Belgian pharmacists have raised concerns that patients have been postponing treatment or care since the start of the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

    Seeing their sales of medicines fall by 20% in the last two weeks, the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association (APB) has spoken out that it fears not everyone is continuing to take their daily treatment.

    The number of drugs sold daily in Belgium has fallen from an average of 500,000 to 400,000 units over the past two weeks, the association said.

    “We fear that people are postponing their usual care or treatment when there is no reason for that,” APB explained, adding that general practitioners and pharmacies remain available, even under the containment measures.

    Postponing treatment

    This news follows the announcement by the University Hospital of Brussels last Friday that postponing necessary treatment for fear of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) could prove catastrophic.

    GPs and patients undergoing treatment for certain pathologies must be alert to the warning signs in order to intervene in time, the hospital said. People suffering from cardiovascular disease, in particular, should not ignore certain signs, such as chest pains, tingling in the limbs or, sudden loss of speech.

    UZ Brussel believes that the fear of catching the coronavirus plays an important role in these unnecessary delays in care. “The number of non-coronavirus deaths could, however, exceed the number of deaths due to the virus if patients postpone their care for too long,” the hospital said.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times