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Shortage of drugs led pharmacists to warn "the consequences could be further hospital admissions or even fatalities"         "They will not explain their imposed quota system and they will not discuss the issue directly." Shortages were "out of hand and nearing catastrophe" - Andrew McCoig, the chief executive of the NHS pharmaceutical committee for Merton, Sutton         "Before the introduction of manufacturers' quotas, the market for medicines worked effectively. No longer can patients be assured that if they walk into a pharmacy their medication will be available immediately or within an acceptable timescale." - Calderdale and Kirklees local pharmaceutical committee         Four in five NHS trusts in England & Wales say patients are suffering "unacceptable" delays for drugs         Lives at risk by shortage of critical medicines because pharmaceutical companies are rationing drugs, NHS leaders warn         A survey of 60 NHS authorities found that the shortage was doing patients "serious harm", with patients facing delays of up to 6 months - (The Telegraph 22 June 2012)         Imposed rationing to stop sale of drugs abroad has made the shortages much worse, say NHS leaders and pharmacies. - (The Telegraph 22 June 2012)         "The current restriction in supply imposed by drug companies is harming the public and must be addressed urgently." - Prof John Parkes, the chief executive of NHS Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire

Healthcare Professional

 

As a Health Professional the matter of drug shortages is of huge importance both in terms of public health and public health finance but also legislation and the interpretation therein. It covers public law issues, competition law and the Medicines Act 1968, the persistent breaching of which could have criminal sanction. We have sent a document to the Department of Health to keep them informed of the issues before Parliament which in turn have an effect on the operations of the Department of Health.

 

The All Party Parliamentary Group and the European Commission are both investigating the problem which is affecting the public directly and indirectly. The current position of the DoH has been ineffectual at present and the DoH is unable to control the situation as it is not in possession of all the facts. We are passionate about this cause and it is for this reason we have taken to informing the legislature and the judiciary of the important matters.

 

Many UK patients/people have had trouble obtaining vital medication from their pharmacy of choice. This has had a real impact both on their physical and mental well being as well. This problem is only prevalent in the UK and no other EU country is affected. Indirectly vital NHS savings are not being obtained with the net result that less people are being treated in the most up to date manner.

 

The UK cancer survival rate is appalling, ranking below many of the Baltic EU nations, despite the UK spending more as a proportion of GDP on health than Germany or France. The concept of free healthcare is absolutely sacrosanct but this does not mean poorly spent or poorly managed. No economy in the world will be able to provide free healthcare at the point of service within 50 years at the current rate of spend on healthcare and population longevity. Controlling drug cost is part of the solution. Denying access to medicines on the basis of cost is not an alternative anyone in the UK should contemplate.

 

 We understand your time is valuable and sparse with all the other duties that accompany your post as a Health Professional, however we urge for you to voice your opinion on our forum and let the industry hear what you have to say or alternatively join us on Twitter or Facebook and follow us there.

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