BEIRUT — The Health Ministry issued a statement Monday evening saying it is “endeavoring on more than one level to prevent interruptions'' in the supply of medications used to treat drug addiction, adding that it has already reached an agreement with the manufacturer of one such drug, Suboxone, in order to secure additional stock. Health experts warned last week that shortages of such medications could put some 1,200 recovering heroin addicts at risk.
Here’s what we know:
• In the statement, the Health Ministry said it has reached an agreement to exchange around 2,400 expired boxes of Suboxone, a prescription drug used in the treatment of opiate addiction, for a usable quantity of the medication “as soon as possible.”
• The statement also said that the ministry has coordinated with the French Embassy to secure donations of medications used in treating recovering drug addicts.
• Medicines like Suboxone, which remain subsidized by the state, have been in short supply in pharmacies in recent months. Importers blame the shortages on payment delays on the part of Banque du Liban, while BDL says that medications are unavailable in the market due to the hoarding and smuggling of stocks.
• The Health Ministry’s statement added that the ministry is cooperating with BDL to solve the credit line issues, which “would speed up the importing of these needed medicines.”