NHS Medicine Shortages Under the Tories

The NHS is running short of dozens of lifesaving medicines including treatments for cancer, heart conditions and epilepsy, the Guardian (18/11/19) has reported.

An internal 24-page document circulated to some doctors last Friday from the medicine supply team at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), headed “commercial-sensitive”, listed many drugs currently hit by shortages at the NHS. The document warned: “This information is confidential to the NHS, please do not upload to websites in the public domain.” Clearly the Tories do not want the public to know the truth about the impact of their policies.

packets of pillsThe document lists 17 new drug shortages identified over the last week including drugs for cancer, Parkinson’s, mental health problems and some eye conditions. There are also ongoing issues with 69 different drugs including antibiotics for tuberculosis, diamorphine, various cancer drugs, heart condition drugs, Hepatitis vaccines and anti-epilepsy drugs. Doctors have said that the breadth of conditions identified in the list was “unprecedented”. Some patients would have to be prioritised over others for some lifesaving drugs, a form of drug rationing. One cancer drug has no date for resupply provided by the manufacturer while Procyclidine, a Parkinson’s drug is out of stock until March 2020,

GPs are extremely alarmed.  Brexit stockpiling, manufacturing diversions, and parallel exporting, are some reasons but there appears to be a change in pharma companies’ behaviour causing a potentially dangerous level of instability in the supply of reliable, standard treatments.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said that : “Medicine shortages are an increasing problem. A range of factors are responsible for shortages, such as manufacturing problems, global demand for medicines and fluctuations in the exchange rate. At the moment pharmacists are working incredibly hard to get the medicines patients need. Pharmacists spend hours tracking down stock and working together to help patients.”

Only the Liberal Democrats will protect the NHS from the further risks of loss of control of drug prices and supplies from trade deals with the USA.

Read the Guardian article here.

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