Russian morale is plunging to new depths as they reel from the disasters of the Ukraine war but the country is running out of drugs such as Prozac to treat the depression.
A Russian mental health crisis has been intensifying since the invasion of its eastern neighbour in February 2022, with the country crippled by Western sanctions and finding itself isolated from most of the world.
But in a bitter blow for depressed Russians, it has now been revealed that Prozac, a drug commonly used to help treat depression, is about to be out of stock.
The crisis is so great that just four of the 2,400 pharmacies in Moscow have any stock left, according to Russian news outlet RBC, with only two of 1,300 in St Petersburg having any availability.
Russian usage of Prozac surged by 63 percent in 2022 compared to the year before – triggered by the tragedies and crises from Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine.
Millions of Russians are also suffering from increased emotional stress following Putin’s forced mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of men into the Ukraine war.
Thousands have returned home with life-changing injuries, while many others never came back at all and died on the battlefield.
The RBC report states: “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.”
The Russian Health Ministry has moved to avert a major crisis by approving around a dozen alternative anti-depression medicines containing fluoxetine.
But despite this, Putin’s ministry has insisted there was “no shortage” of other drugs despite the absence of Prozac.
Millions of Russians are feeling the full impact of the Western sanctions imposed on the country, with increasing shortages of goods imported from elsewhere around the world.
US-based Prozac producer Eli Lilly said was leaving the Russian market this year as a result of Russia’s continued “military operation” in Ukraine.
In addition to Prozac, medication to treat several other serious and life-threatening conditions has also disappeared from pharmacy shelves as it struggles with the Western companies limiting supplies.
Independent Russian media outlet Verstka reported: “Only 30 percent of people with HIV in Russia will be able to receive antiretroviral therapy with the money remaining in the 2023 budget.”
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