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Pharmacists Risk Stock Shortage on Common Medicines 

Painkillers and anti-depressants are running out on UK pharmacists’ shelves. In return, many patients are having to wait whilst stock is replenished by pharmacists who are clearly struggling to keep the supply chain of medicines coming in.

The phrases “Shortage of supply” and “Unavailable” are becoming increasingly common for pharmacists and patients. In total, there are 80 medicines which are in shortage, for which the Department of Health (DoH) has agreed to pay the premium for. Shortage of any stock always means a spike in prices.

It is going to get any worse?

Many premium pharmacists are worried that Brexit may make the shortage situation worse, with prices increasing even further post-Brexit.

If a patient really needs their medication without experiencing worsening symptoms or unbearable pain, then the last thing they want to hear is they can’t have their pain-killers. 

Often increasing chronic pain in the body which goes untreated, can have a chain reaction of side effects. Untreated pain can turn into inflammation and dislocation of joints. No-one can understand how this feels unless they are the patient themselves. 

Most likely, in the past, a shortage of medicine has always seen stock replenish itself quite quickly. This time, stock waiting times have elongated which is becoming a worrying concern for many pharmacists and patients. Alternative medicines don’t always alleviate the pain either. 

Handing in prescriptions to pharmacists online or on the high street is strongly advised to increase the chances of receiving your medication quickly. Delaying it can mean delayed pain treatment. 

The rising premium of medication

With the number of medicines on the shortage list increasing six-fold over the last three years, the cost has also trebled from £11.4 Million to £37 Million. The shortage is mainly for generic medicines such as Ibuprofen, rather than their branded versions such as Nurofen.

Other drugs include Furosemide, the 23rd most prescribed drug in the UK which treats high blood pressure, Naproxen which went completely out of stock recently. 

Why is it happening?

The reasons for this shortage could be due to         

  • increased global demand
  • the cost of raw materials
  • new regulatory requirements which increase costs
  • changes in exchange rates
  • generic brands that stop manufacturing or selling unprofitable medicines.
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