Drug shortages featured in national press


Drug shortages featured in national press

December 7, 2017

The front cover of this morning’s (Thursday 7th December) The Times featured an article raising concerns about patients not being able to get hold of vital medicines due to drug shortages.

The Times reports that cancer patients and people with severe mental illness are being particularly affected by the shortages, which have cost the NHS £180 million in the last six months due to substantial price increases. The article goes on to state that at least 100 drugs have been affected by supply problems, forcing health officials to approve temporary price rises of up to 4,000% to boost stocks.

Community pharmacy contractors and their teams will be all too aware of the current generic supply situation. PSNC Committee Member and independent contractor Mark Burdon is quoted in the article referencing the difficult situation that pharmacy teams were being put in trying to explain the situation to patients whilst they were “scratching around” for crucial supplies.

PSNC continues to press urgently for a decision on the outstanding November price concession applications and we have been assured by the Department of Health that this is a priority. We hope to receive a reply soon and well before November prescription pricing is finalised. As soon as any announcement is made we will inform pharmacies via our website and email news alerts.

The PSNC Dispensing and Supply Team has set up a specific email address for community pharmacy teams to contact us regarding the outstanding November price concessions: novemberconcessions@psnc.org.uk. Please use this address to submit any further relevant information about the impact the delay in granting the concessions is having on patients and pharmacies.

Mike Dent, Director of Pharmacy Funding at PSNC, said:

“We are receiving unprecedented numbers of calls from community pharmacy teams who cannot get hold of certain medicines that patients need despite their best efforts; or who are having to pay prices many times more than the NHS reimbursement price. This has been going on for many months. When we request price concessions, the Department of Health always makes its own inquiries following reports from us to validate the availability and prices around the country.”

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