ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland faces shortages of medicine including painkillers needed to treat coronavirus patients in the country’s intensive care units, a health ministry official said on Tuesday, as the country competes with others on the international market to buy more drugs.

“There are real bottlenecks for essential medicines in intensive care…There has been some easing of the situation, but in the long term it’s a huge problem,” said Patrick Mathys, head of the Swiss federal health ministry’s crisis resolution team. “We’re trying as much as we can to buy more on the international market, but you can imagine, just like protective masks, these medicines are in demand.”

(Reporting by John Miller; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi)