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Exclusive: Eight in 10 pharmacists consider shortages ‘big problem’

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By Léa Legraien
Reporter

11 May 2018

Over 80% of readers have said shortages are a ‘big problem’ to their business, a survey by The Pharmacist has suggested.

Of 64 respondents to the ongoing survey, first launched on 20 March, 81% said that they have experienced ‘big problems’ with stock shortages in the past 12 months.

The survey, which closes next month, is part of The Pharmacist current #WarOnShortages campaign, which aims to increase Government transparency around medicine shortages, their effects and causes.

Respondents told The Pharmacist they have seen their profits decrease and cost of medicines increase, with one reader saying that their main priority is to ‘survive’.

Cash flow issues 

As a result of the shortages, 34% of the respondents calculated they have lost between £501 and £1,000 since Summer 2017, while 15% have lost more than £10,000 during the same period.

The cash flow issues are linked to reimbursement prices, which are often below the amount of money spent on medicines in the first place.

Following ‘disappointing’ April concessionary prices, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) argued that drug shortages are putting ‘enormous and unreasonable pressure’ on pharmacists.

Reporting shortages

The Pharmacist survey’s findings showed that 66% of the respondents have contacted PSNC about shortages over the past six months.

In February, PSNC told The Pharmacist that ‘thousands of contractors were reporting shortages every month’.

‘Nobody in authority seems to care’

One respondent said: ‘Something needs to be done about this situation urgently. There is talk about dispensing errors causing unnecessary deaths but this stock shortage and quota system are as bad for patient care.

‘Vulnerable patients will make errors with medications they are unfamiliar with or take the wrong dose, as supplied with a different strength to usual.

‘Nobody in the authority seems to care and we’re banging our heads against a brick wall.

‘Pharmacy is yet again dismissed as not an important healthcare resource to be properly remunerated.’

Tell us how stock shortages have affected your business by taking our survey here for your chance to win a £50 John Lewis voucher.


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