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Finnish pharmacies struggle with drug delivery problems

One of Finland's two main pharmaceutical wholesalers, Oriola, has been having persistent trouble delivering drugs to pharmacies and hospitals this week. The firm says it aims to fix problems with deliveries of urgent medicines by this weekend.

Nainen lajittelee lääkkeitä lääketukussa.
Oriola deliveries have been slow this week. Image: Oriola-KD

One of Finland's two main pharmaceutical wholesalers, Oriola, has been having persistent trouble delivering drugs to pharmacies and hospitals this week. The problem first cropped up on Tuesday after the firm adopted a new data system last weekend.

Risto Kanerva, a member of the board of the Association of Finnish Pharmacies, says that as of Thursday, a quarter of all pharmacies had not had their urgent pharmaceutical orders filled by Oriola.

“Pharmacies typically keep a supply of basic medications corresponding to the average sales with a 2-4 week period, and there is no problem with these. The problem is with products that are not necessarily always kept on hand, but are usually ordered for specific customers,” Kanerva said on Yle TV1’s Friday morning current affairs programme.

"A serious situation"

Oriola’s quality manager Heidi Leponiemi, promised on the same programme that the problem would be corrected before the weekend.

The Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) is urging Oriola to improve its urgent deliveries and its communications around the issue.

Fimea’s director of supervision and licences, Eija Pelkonen, called this "a serious situation" and said that the company must do all it can to ensure that patients get their medicines.

Oriola controls nearly half of the Finnish pharmaceutical sales, with sole rival Tamro accounting for the rest. Oriola was spun off as a separate firm from the country’s biggest pharmaceutical manufacturer, Orion, in 2006.  

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