Location: North West England
Location: South East Coast
Speciality: Pharmacy Technician
Location: Beds and Herts
A spike in the difficulty of sourcing a range of common medicines could leave many patients facing significant delays in having their prescriptions filled.
According to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the number of drugs on the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee's 'shortage of supply' list for England now stands at 80 - rising from 45 in October last year.
Overall, the number of items on the list has grown six-fold in the last three years. It means pharmacists in England are now having to delay many prescriptions for common medicines, with some patients being asked to return to their GPs for alternative drugs.
Ash Soni, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, told BBC News: "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."
He added that some items are now "completely out of stock", while others have seen dramatic price rises that means the ability of pharmacies to order in more stock is becoming increasingly limited.
There are a range of factors coming into play that mean supplies of many common medicines are now running low, including increased global demand for many medicines, rising costs of raw materials, new regulations that further push up the cost of manufacture and pharmaceutical companies being unwilling to push production of unprofitable products.
As a result, the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better, with the rising price of many drugs making it unlikely that the government will step in to provide additional NHS funding to tackle this growing crisis.
Written by James Puckle
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