UK drug shortages are far from being solved

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Despite attempts to solve problems with shortages of brand-name medicines in the UK, the issue is taking up more of pharmacists’ time, is far from being solved and may be getting worse according to an online stock survey carried out by pharmacists organisation Chemist+Druggist.


The survey revealed that the majority (95%) of pharmacists are spending more than one hour per week trying to locate out-of-stock drugs. Almost two-thirds of the pharmacists that took part in the survey spent more than two hours and 18% more than five hours per week on sourcing drugs in sparse supply.

Most pharmacists (93%) also regularly failed to receive drugs within 24 hours, which is the time stated in official guidance from the UK Department of Health.

While 71% of pharmacists reported that getting hold of brand-name medicines proved more difficult in 2011 than in 2010, only 3% of pharmacists said things were easier.

Chemist+Druggist intends to submit the full results of their 2011 Stock Survey to the All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) inquiry and to the Department of Health.

The APPG inquiry intends to publish its report containing conclusions and recommendations for action by government and other interested parties in the first quarter of 2012. Although the APPG admitted that the current UK government has looked into the problem of drug shortages the Right Honourable Kevin Barron MP, Chair of the APPG, wanted ‘to inject some urgency into this’. The APPG intend to seek the views of everyone involved in the medicines supply chain and will be asking the government about its plans for tackling this serious issue. The aim is to get the problem under control and reduce these shortages as quickly as possible [1].

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1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. MPs to hold inquiry into UK drug shortages []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2012 January 13]. Available from:

Source: Chemist+Druggist

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