Russians are depressed by Putins war – but have run out of Prozac to treat it

Depressed Russians are in crisis mode after the country ran out of medication to help cope with it.

Earlier this year, we reported how Russia had a mental health crisis brought on by its invasion of Ukraine which resulted in the country being cut of from the majority of the Western world. And as a result of that, it now appears that the drug Prozac, commonly used to help treat depression, is now about to be out of stock.

According to Russia news outlet RBC, only four of Moscow's 2,400 pharmacies has any stock left, while two out of 1,300 in St Petersburg have it available. The county's stock piles ran out in June after sanctions were introduced, and Russian usage of it grew to record levels in 2022 – a 63% increase on the year before.

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“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.

Putin’s health ministry has approved around a dozen alternative anti-depression medicines containing fluoxetine as a result of the shortage. However, the ministry claimed there was “no shortage” of other drugs despite the absence of Prozac.‌

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Russians 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 of this year 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 also vanished from the Russian market, 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.

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