UK NHS faces drug shortages

Generics/General | Posted 27/05/2022 post-comment0 Post your comment

The United Kingdom’s (UK) National Health Service (NHS) faces shortages of blood pressure pills, painkillers and antidepressants due to drug manufacturer supply problems.

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It has been reported that many drug producers are tackling the rising costs of raw materials, in combination with approval delays of up to 18 months from the medicines regulator. However, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has stated that it regularly accelerates approval processes where products could be subject to shortage.

The UK is already in the midst of a hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drug crisis, and it now appears that dozens of other medications may also soon be in scant supply. Some figures indicate that there are up to 50 generic medicines used by the NHS that are having supply issues, with most of these leaving patients with no alternative treatment options.

The UK’s Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has reported that 67 drugs have been added to a list that the UK Government is willing to pay a higher price due to problems such as supply issues. In addition, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies in the UK, has reported that at least half a million patients are likely to be affected by this possible drug supply crisis.

Drug supply issues have also been reported in other regions of the world. For example, in Japan, supply issues are resulting from the shutdown of several medicines manufactures [1]. In Europe, drug shortages are due to a combination of manufacturing problems, industry quotas, legal parallel trade and pricing issues, and have been exacerbated by issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic [1]. In Australia, the government has introduced a new bill to address drug shortages [2].

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References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Drug shortages hit Japan and Europe [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 May 27]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/generics/general/drug-shortages-hit-japan-and-europe
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Australia introduces new bill to address drug shortages [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 May 27]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/policies-legislation/australia-introduces-new-bill-to-address-drug-shortages

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