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Social media watch: pharmacists take to Twitter to confirm reports of major medicines shortages


By Léa Legraien
Reporter

18 Jan 2019

The sector has taken to Twitter to confirm that medicine shortages are a major problem following a report in the media.

Responding to an article published today (18 January) on the BBC, which highlighted ‘a surge’ in medicine shortages, pharmacists responded and patients tweeted that they are currently struggling to get hold of certain drugs.

On Wednesday (16 January), pharmacy representative bodies including the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), called on the Government to ensure a continuous supply of medicines post-Brexit after the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal was voted down in Parliament.

The Pharmacist’s #WarOnShortages campaign highlighted the troubles contractors are going through as a result of persistent medicines shortages – including losing money and trying to reassure worried patients.

 

Increased medicine shortages 

 

The BBC reported today that in December alone, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) granted 80 medicine price concessions – up from 45 compared to the number of concessions it granted in October.

Around a third (28) of these were among the most common 500 medicines prescribed. These included the high-blood pressure drug furosemide and the antidepressant fluoxetine.

Speaking to the BBC, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) president Ash Soni said that he has ‘never seen so many common drugs affected by shortages’.

He added: ‘The items are out of stock and unavailable. Patients are having to wait. We’re having to send some patients back to the GP to get a different prescription, because we just can’t fill them.’

 

‘Not scaremongering’

 

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians tweeted that they have not been able to dispense prescriptions due to some medicines being out of stock at a supplier level.

 

Some patients also reported difficulties in getting the medicines they need from their local pharmacy.

 

 

However, the NPA tweeted that ‘in spite of today’s news reports, for the most part people continue to get the medicines they need in good time, thanks to hard working pharmacists and GPs.’


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