The Canarian health authorities are to stockpile medicines due to fears that the haulers strike in Spain will cause supply problems in the coming days and weeks.

Pharmaceutical distributors have been asked to ensure they have stocks for longer periods to cope with the possible repercussions of the stoppages, which began yesterday. The haulers are protesting at rising fuel costs and have already caused major problems for petrol stations in the Barcelona area. A Health Department spokesman said yesterday that firms had been asked several days ago to bring forward their monthly orders to make sure the stocks of medicines are in the islands before the strike begins to bite.