Russia runs out of Prozac as Putin’s war in Ukraine drives people to antidepressants
- Last batch went on sale in June amid sanctions, supplies are almost exhausted
- Demand for the drug jumped up 63 per cent in the weeks following the invasion
Russians are getting more depressed about the crisis triggered by Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine – but have run out of Prozac to treat the condition.
The drug is available in only four out of 2,400 pharmacies and outlets in Moscow, and two out of 1,300 in St Petersburg.
Sanctions mean the last Prozac batch went on sale in June and supplies are almost exhausted, said a report by news outlet RBC.
Russians have relied on the drug since 1991 – the end of the Soviet era – but its sales grew a record amount in 2022 when Vladimir Putin declared his illegal war on Ukraine.
Demand for the drug jumped up 63 per cent in the weeks following the invasion.
‘Experts attribute the increase in sales of antidepressants in general to the anxiety of Russians due to the news and economic background, the special military operation in Ukraine and the consequences of sanctions,’ said the RBC report.
Families have been put under deep strain by Putin’s forced mobilisation of tens of thousands of Russian men to the war, while huge numbers have returned from the conflict maimed or dead.
Sanctions mean the last Prozac batch went on sale in June and supplies are almost exhausted, said a report by news outlet RBC. The website reads ‘not in stock’
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 18 September 2023
Families have been put under deep strain by Putin’s forced mobilisation of tens of thousands of Russian men to the war, while huge numbers have returned from the conflict maimed or dead
Putin’s health ministry has approved around a dozen alternative anti-depression medicines containing fluoxetine.
The ministry claimed there was ‘no shortage’ of other drugs despite the absence of Prozac.
Russians also face increasing shortages of top Western goods due to sanctions and self-imposed curbs on sales.
US company Eli Lilly, which produces Prozac, announced it was leaving the Russian market in March amid Putin’s ongoing military operation.
Russia is also suffering a shortage of cardiovascular drugs as Western companies limit supplies.
Medicines to treat drugs for viral hepatitis C have vanished from the Russian market due to Putin’s aggression, as have medicines for epilepsy.
‘Only 30 per cent of people with HIV in Russia will be able to receive antiretroviral therapy with the money remaining in the 2023 budget,’ reported Verstka.
Pro-war commentators hit back at Russians relying on anti-depressants.
‘Let them go to the special military operation, the depression will disappear there,’ said one comment.
‘Drink vodka,’ said another, as a man named Andrei urged depressed Russians to rely on ‘sex, vodka and meat’.