Millions could be left WITHOUT vital medication as NHS faces shortage of common drugs | The Sun

THE NHS is facing shortages of medicines relied on by millions of Brits, from antibiotics to painkillers, experts have warned.

It comes amid a supply chain crisis, set to impact those with conditions such as osteoporosis, hay fever, Parkinson's and dementia.

Pharmacists told The Sun that medicine shortages are driving up costs – in some cases by almost 3,000 per cent. 

A pharmacy body has called the situation “critical” assupply issues show no signs of stopping. 

Increasing costs of raw materials supplied from China and India has meant that Brits are facing a 'perfect storm' when it comes to the supply of the most used pills, experts previously warned.

Ashley Cohen, a pharmacist based in Leeds, said that the price hike is likely to mean some choose not to buy the medicines in the first place.

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“Pharmacies might instead send patients back to GPs to get different prescriptions or send patients to different pharmacies altogether.

"This wild goose chase just makes getting hold of medicines that much more difficult for patients,” he explained. 

Earlier this year,women across the UK were left without an adequate supply of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat menopause symptoms.

Many are still struggling and last week, UK pharmacies were given powers to dish out certain hormone replacement therapy over the counter.

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Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), said: “Pharmacies are trying as hard as they can to ensure they obtain the medicines for their patients so that no one goes through illegitimate website to obtain fake products. 

“Medicines are not like other products – many patients are dependent on these as life saving,” she added.  

One manufacturer previously told the i: "It is a perfect storm of supply chain problems and a failure to appreciate that there are very fine margins in a drug being viable to produce or not."

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), which represents all 11,200 pharmacies across England, said it had become “increasingly concerned” about the "critical" medicines supply issue.

Why you shouldn’t buy prescription drugs online

Many medications are now available online, but experts say you should be wary about purchasing them if you can no longer get what you need from your GP.

Martin Preston, Founder and CEO at Delamere said it's important to recognise when providers are legitimate.

He said: "Regulated pharmacies will have a have a green and white logo displayed on their website that says “check if this website is operating legally.

"By clicking this you will be able to find a list of approved pharmacies and what medications they are allowed to sell."

However, he said he never recommends buying online as the risks outweigh the benefits.

"While it might be convenient for some, visiting your local pharmacy is always the best option when buying prescription medication as there are trained professionals on hand to help you," he added.

PSNC's director of pharmacy funding, Mike Dent : "We are seeing a worrying rate of medicines supply and pricing issues this year.

"This may mean some patients are asked to wait a little longer or that an alternative prescription is needed.

"But despite this, we believe most medicines are still reaching patients as normal thanks to the very hard work of pharmacy teams and we would ask members of the public to be patient with them,' he said.

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What to do if your medicine isn’t available 

If it's a prescription, your GP or practice nurse can issue you with a new prescription of an alternative drug to the one you were prescribed.

If it's over-the-counter medication then speaking to your pharmacist is your best bet.

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