A shortage of Iceland’s favourite painkiller – ibuprofen – is a symptom of a much larger problem, The Icelandic National Audit Office says: the lack of competition in the domestic market.
Ibuprofen – called íbúfen in Iceland – is currently unavailable on pharmacy shelves. This shortage is due to the fact that a shipment of the drug from Activis in Europe was damaged by poor temperature controls of the ship container they were being stored in.
While another shipment of the drug is on the way, The Icelandic National Audit Office believes the situation is one of many examples of the lack of competition in Iceland. Greenland and the Faroe Islands, each with a fraction of Iceland’s population, are afforded more choices in everyday goods, they say.
The price of medicine is high, and availability is limited. Pharmacist Aðalsteinn Jens Loftsson points out that while Iceland is not exactly Europe’s largest market for buying medicine, the government could be doing more to try and reduce costs and provide greater variety for the population at large.
Minister of Welfare Guðbjartur Hannesson says the matter will be investigated more thoroughly.