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There is a strong desire to help the Ukrainians in the present situation. To be able to help in the best possible way, and to make sure that the aid is delivered to those who need it, it is best for private individuals and organisations to channel their assistance through well-established aid organisations. Aid organisations have experience in crisis situations. They know best what kind of help is needed in the area and are most capable of delivering the aid to the right destinations.
The successful delivery of goods sent by private individuals is uncertain because border areas, for example, are seriously bottlenecked. Consequently, local officials have asked people to avoid visits to border areas, lest they impede the work of officials.
It is important to get pharmaceutical aid delivered to a war zone that is as safe and of the same quality as for any user of a medicine. In humanitarian crisis situations deliveries of pharmaceutical aid are coordinated by established international aid organisations with the necessary pharmaceutical export licences and which have the best access to the right channels. In this way, the distribution chain of the medicines that are delivered can be traced, the quality and safety of the medicines is not endangered during delivery, the medicines do not fall into the wrong hands during delivery, and they are delivered to health care officials in the target country.
To make sure that those needing help in a crisis situation get the right kind of safe pharmacotherapy, similar requirements apply to export of medicines to war zones as in other types of pharmaceutical export:
The export of medicines from Finland to outside the EU/EEA countries requires a wholesale permit granted by Fimea, which includes provisions for the export of medicines.
The pharmaceutical wholesaler must make sure that the recipient of the medicines outside the EU/EEA area is a lawful recipient with the right to procure medicines from a wholesaler.
If the medicines to be exported are classified as psychoactive substances, the wholesale licence must include psychoactive drugs, and a separate export licence is needed for the consignment.
Private individuals may, in principle, carry only the medicines they need for themselves when travelling to another country. In the export of personal medicines, it is good to keep in mind the restrictions imposed by the destination country and transit countries and, for example, a Schengen certificate for medicines containing psychoactive substances.
If problems emerge at any border inspection during any part of the journey, and local officials find a need to investigate the origin of the medicines and the legality of the delivery, this may lead to further congestion in the border areas and make it more difficult to deliver assistance from aid organisations, for example.
To use medicines safely, the instructions on the packaging must be followed. The text on the packaging and instructions for use in packages of medicine procured in Finland are in Finnish and Swedish only; information on the safe use of such medicines is not communicated to those who speak other languages and use the Cyrillic alphabet. Without instructions and information on the content or strength of the pharmaceutical product, using the medicine can be dangerous in the worst of cases.
The transport of medicines by private persons or organisations who lack the expertise, or temperature-controlled equipment, for example, entails inherent risks. In the worst of cases, medicines, such as insulin, which is crucial for the survival of its users, can lose their effectiveness when exposed to excessively high temperatures.
Medicines that are inappropriate for a specific use, or are otherwise unusable, are hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is harmful for the environment, and its disposal is expensive. Please bring all expired or unnecessary medicines to a pharmacy for disposal.
Pharmacies may have problems with the availability of iodine tablets because of the sharp increase in demand, but the problem is temporary, and pharmacies are constantly resupplied. Iodine tablets should not be taken without official instructions. There is no need to stockpile iodine tablets.