Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Widespread medicine shortages hit the UK

Pharmacists in the UK have warned of shortages of every major type of medicine – including HRT, antidepressants and blood pressure pill, reports The Daily Telegraph. Drugs for diabetes, epilepsy and skin problems are among the treatments in short supply, along with common contraceptives, a survey suggests.

The poll of more than 400 pharmacists found hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs were worst hit, with 84% of respondents struggling to get hold of these products. Meanwhile, 67% of pharmacists had seen shortages of contraceptives, 58% experienced supply issues of antiepileptic drugs. And around 20% of those polled declared shortages of antipsychotic drugs, with even more warning of difficulties obtaining medication to treat diabetes.

Experts said there are a number of reasons for the shortages, including manufacturing problems, a paucity of some raw ingredients and the discontinuation of some brands. Pharmacists said they felt on a “knife edge” trying to cope with supply problems, which some fear will worsen in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Dr Farah Jameel, of the British Medical Association, is quoted in the report as saying: “There are lots of different reasons why drug shortages happen, but they are gradually getting worse and can have a serious effect on how quickly patients receive appropriate treatment.”

“Practices often won’t know that a drug is in short supply until patients return from the pharmacy, and these extra GP appointments can dramatically add to their already burgeoning workload – as well as distressing patients.”

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has raised concerns about shortages of many contraceptive pills, warning that it could result in a rise in unplanned pregnancies. 

It follows warnings about shortages of fluoxetine – commonly known as Prozac – as a result of manufacturing problems.

A separate survey by The Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) in August suggested that around 21 per cent of prescription drugs had suffered shortages in the previous three months. 

More than 90 per cent of respondents felt the shortages had increased over the previous year. 

[link url="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/01/pharmacists-warn-shortages-every-category-drug-hrt-supply-issue/"]The Daily Telegraph report[/link]

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