Medicine shortage puts pharmacists on back foot

PHARMACISTS are spending hours every week tackling a shortage of medicines across the UK which is impacting on patient care, research suggests.

A survey of 396 Lloydspharmacy pharmacists found 74 per cent are spending hours trying to track down vital drugs by phoning round stores and suppliers. And 98 per cent believe the shortage is having a negative impact on patients.

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Patients with diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure and depression will all be affected as drugs which are intended for the UK are exported for sale abroad to take advantage of exchange rates.

As a result, many manufacturers introduced “quota systems” to limit supplies so they are shared out more evenly across the UK.

But pharmacists say having a set amount means they cannot order any more. So, if demand for a drug rises unexpectedly, many patients can miss out.