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Crisis Mode: Is Putin to Blame for Russia’s Skyrocketing Prozac Use, Plummeting Stocks of Medication?

Crisis Mode: Putin to Blame for Lack of Prozac in Russia?
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With depression skyrocketing in Russia, the availability of Prozac is running out.

Sep. 19 2023, Published 12:03 p.m. ET

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Russian citizens suffering from depression are potentially facing a crisis as the nation has exhausted its medication supplies essential for managing their condition — and many blame Vladimir Putin for the plummeting stocks of medication, according to sources.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has seen a mental health crisis take over the country Putin leads, the Daily Star reported.

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Russia has been cut off from the majority of the Western world because of the war in Ukraine and now Prozac, a popular drug used to help treat depression, is almost completely out of stock in Russia.

According to the Daily Star, of Moscow’s 2,400 pharmacies, a paltry four have any supplies left and only two out of 1,300 pharmacies in St. Petersburg have it available.

Russian usage of Prozac grew to record levels in 2022 — a 63% increase on the year before — and stock piles started to run out in June after sanctions were introduced, according to the report.

The increase in sales of antidepressants can potentially be linked to the anxiety Russians may feel in connection with the military operation in Ukraine and the consequences of sanctions and the economic background, the Daily Star reported.

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In response to the critical shortage, Putin's Ministry of Health has granted approval for approximately twelve alternative antidepressant medications that include fluoxetine. Nevertheless, the ministry insists there was “no shortage" of other medications despite the absence of Prozac.

Because of sanctions and self-imposed curbs on sales, Russians are facing more and more shortages of sought-after top Western goods. U.S. company Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac, announced in March that it was leaving the Russian market amid Putin’s ongoing military operation.

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Besides Prozac, Russia reportedly is also suffering from shortages of cardiovascular drugs, medicines to treat viral hepatitis C and drugs for epilepsy.

Only 30 percent of people with HIV in Russia will be able to receive antiretroviral therapy with the money remaining in the 2023 budget, according to the Daily Star.


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