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UK’s DoH says most medicines do not experience shortages Posted 01/07/2016

The UK’s Department of Health (DoH) has said that the ‘vast majority’ of prescriptions in the country are not subject to supply problems.

The response from the DoH came in reply to a 9 June 2016 letter from the All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG), which called for swift action in reducing harm caused by medicine shortages.

In its letter the APPG pointed to the results of its survey of pharmacists and doctors, which showed that medicines shortages continue to occur.

The survey found that 56% of pharmacists and 37% of doctors were ‘almost certain’ to have been out of stock of a medicine or prescribed a medicine that was out of stock once a day over the last six months. While 48% of community pharmacists and 42% of GP practices were spending between 21 and 50 hours a month dealing with medicines shortages. Time that the APPG says could be better spent ‘diagnosing, treating and supporting patients’.

The survey, which was conducted earlier in 2016, in conjunction with North of England Commissioning Support (NECS), also highlighted that 48% of pharmacists and 36% of doctors said shortages may have resulted in their patients receiving ‘moderate medical treatment’.

Although the group admitted that ‘some shortages are impossible to prevent’ it added that ‘good preparation and early warning would, in our view, help to minimise the impact’.

The group has also asked for a meeting with the Minister of State for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt, in order to ‘discuss these findings in more detail and to consider actions that would improve the situation for patients and healthcare professionals’.

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Source: APPG, Chemist and Druggist

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