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NHS trusts experiencing medication shortages for life-threatening diseases

Published on 25/06/2012

NHS trusts in England and Wales are experiencing a shortage of life saving drugs for cancer, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and organ failure.

Huw Irranca-Davies, the Labour MP for Ogmore, submitted Freedom of Information Requests to 60 primary care trusts and health authorities across the country.

Medication shortages are putting patients' health at risk

He found that up to 70 common drugs are unavailable in some areas, with patients facing delays of up to 6 months. He said: “We are talking about drugs for life-threatening illnesses, like cancer, coronary care, and diabetes.”

“My message to the Government is they need to stop taking a back seat on this issue. If nothing is done, it will get much worse.”

In Cornwall, patients had to be given specialist advice after pharmacies ran out of a drug for Parkinson’s disease. In Devon, a shortage of drugs for stroke patients led pharmacists to warn that “the consequences could be further hospital admissions or even fatalities”.

In Hampshire, patients with schizophrenia were forced to switch drugs after their medicine became unavailable for six months.

The shortage is caused by British wholesalers and pharmacists selling drugs abroad for extra profits. Despite rationing being imposed to stop this practise, NHS leaders say the shortages have got worse.

Professor John Parkes, the chief executive of NHS Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire, said: “The current restriction in supply imposed by drug companies is harming the public and must be addressed urgently.”

Patients with health insurance have the benefit of being treated in a private hospital, often equipped with private pharmacies.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  NHS and Hospitals
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