Over one third of readers are dealing with more than six or more wholesalers on a weekly basis due to stock shortages, a survey by The Pharmacist has revealed.

Out of 64 respondents to the ongoing survey, first launched on 20 March, 35% said they are contacting at least six wholesalers in the average week to try and source unavailable medicines.

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

Considerable amount of time

Respondents told The Pharmacist they have lost a considerable amount of time trying to get hold of the requested medicines. 

As a result of the shortages, 37% of respondents estimated they are spending between two and three hours a week to source drugs.

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

‘Excessive time wasted’

The vast majority of respondents – 97% – agreed that the shortages have increased their workload due to the ‘excessive time wasted’ in contacting suppliers, manufacturers, patients and GPs for alternative drugs.

With sometimes a ‘lack of understanding’ from the customers, the readers said that they have lost them to other pharmacies that had stock available.

One respondent said: ‘On the top of Category M, the funding cuts, branded generic prescribing and much more, it is not feasible for pharmacy to continue allocating already reduced hours to sourcing drugs, most often at prices higher than the reimbursement price.

‘To even remotely have the opportunity to survive, we need to diversify away from the core services but the shortages and other services are preventing us from progressing.’

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