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Study finds that Brexit has worsened UK medicine shortages | uk news

Study finds that Brexit has worsened UK medicine shortages |  uk news


Medicine shortages in the UK more than doubled between 2020 and 2023, with Brexit weakening the country's ability to tackle the problem, according to research by the Nuffield Trust.

The think tank said that shortages of antibiotics and antiepileptic drugs have become the 'new normal' since leaving the European Union in January 2020.

Drug companies issued more than 1,600 notices warning of shortages last year, up from 648 in 2020, which requires taxpayers to reimburse pharmacies for buying more drugs than the regular price.

Mark Dayan, head of the Nuffield Trust’s Brexit program, said: “We understand that many of the issues are global, with vulnerable Asian import networks under pressure from Covid-19 lockdowns, inflation and global instability. “I know it’s related,” he said.

“British officials have put in place much more sophisticated systems for monitoring and response and have used additional payments to keep product flowing.

“However, leaving the EU has created several additional challenges for the UK: products will no longer flow seamlessly across EU borders, and in the long term, efforts to approve many medicines may mean there will be fewer alternatives available. .”

READ MORE:National epilepsy drug shortage puts thousands at riskDiabetes are swept away by obese patients, trapped without essential drugsADHD drug supply faces 'intermittent disruptions' until April

Four drugs approved by the European Commission between 2022 and 2023 were approved more quickly in the UK, but 56 have been approved in the UK since the EC and eight have not yet been approved as of March this year.

The report said that while the UK could not rely on formal changes to UK-EU relations “any time soon”, there were steps the government could take.

This includes better anticipating and being more open to shortages, as well as being alert to sudden pressures on costs that create instability.

Dr Leyla Hannbeck, CEO of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, has called on the Department of Health to review its procedures.

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“Pharmacists are in the same position as patients – we are at the end of the supply chain but we are not communicated effectively by government officials.

“As a result, we are unable to plan in advance and support the people who depend on us for their medicines.”

Read more: Pharmacists warn drug shortages are putting patients at risk.

Paul Rees, chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association, said drug shortages had “become the norm” and were “completely unacceptable.”

“Ensuring adequate supplies of medicines is certainly a fundamental function of any modern healthcare system.

“The solution must be international as well as national, but our Government must create the conditions for sufficient medicines to flow into the UK system by adequately funding the supply chain at both ends.”

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said: “Our priority is to ensure patients can continue to receive the care they need.”

“There are approximately 14,000 licensed medicines and the overwhelming majority are in good supply.”




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