Poles cross into Czech Republic to buy medicine due to shortages
Poles have been crossing the border into the Czech Republic to buy medications, saying that shortages and higher prices are driving them to do so.
In the Polish town of Cieszyn, where the river Olza forms the border between the nations, pharmacist Małgorzata Biesok said she was advising patients to go to pharmacies in Cesky Tesin on the other side of the river.
Biesok said she had no other option, saying that the drawers in her pharmacy were bare of medicines. "My heart is simply bleeding" she said.
In Cesky Tesin, fellow pharmacist Adam Bielesz said that while the Czech Republic also had a problem with drugs shortages, patients coming into the pharmacy said they could not find certain drugs in Poland.
Danuta Mistrzak, a resident of Cesky Tesin originally from Poland, said the availability of medications in the Czech Republic was better and the cost was lower.
In a letter to Minister of Health Łukasz Szumowski reported by Polish daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, the Supreme Chamber of Pharmacists said almost 500 drugs were affected by shortages.
The Polish Ministry of Health has set up an information line patients can call to find out where medicines are available.
Some of the conditions for which drugs are in short supply include diabetes, thyroid problems, and hypertension.