Over the past year the UK has seen an alarming rise in medication shortages. Critical shortages are expected to continue as outside factors impact the supply chain. This means that patients who receive certain repeat prescription may face being unable to obtain the medications they need.
Depending on the type of medication, patients may experience adverse health effects from being unable to get the medications they need. Substitutions can be used where appropriate, but there may not always be a suitable replacement in all cases which can lead to adverse health effects.
What is Causing the Shortage?
The aftereffects of the covid-19 pandemic can still be felt throughout many aspects of our society, including the availability of medications. Covid-19 also created an unprecedented reduction in the general population’s immunity. For a significant amount of time, we weren’t exposed to the seasonal viruses and illnesses we normally are. This meant that when we started going back to school and work, we became sicker than we usually would and had a higher demand for certain medications.
Brexit and the war in Ukraine have also disrupted several different supply chains we rely on, including pharmaceuticals.
Inflation and the general rise in the cost of living has made the situation worse. Many of the medications provided through the NHS are more cost-effective generic versions. However, with higher production costs, manufacturers of generic medications are struggling to stay afloat amidst pricing regulations.
Another factor that may be contributing to the crisis is the overprescription and misallocation of medicines. In the UK, it’s estimated that the NHS loses around £300 million pounds a year in unused or improperly disposed of medications. This doesn’t take into account misallocation of medications across the country. Some areas of the UK are over-supplied with medications while other areas are unable to obtain enough.
A centralised database utilising analytics and data could assist with the allocation and availability of medications among local authorities. An easy to access, real-time data from hospitals and pharmacies could increase transparency and supply of medications.
Innovation and the use of smart technology can help to reduce production costs to take some of the strain off inflation. With the correct procedures and technology, production and delivery will become more streamlined, further reducing supply chain issues.
Promoting local production and reducing tax rates on imports will also alleviate pressure on medication supplies.
NHS Repeat Prescriptions in Chipping Campden and Bloxham
The pharmacists at Pharmacy to My Door work hard to provide patients with their medications, even in the face of medicine shortages in the UK. Electronic NHS repeat prescriptions through pharmacies like PTMD help reduce some of the strain on supplies, ensuring that people are only getting the medications they need. Sign up online or contact us today to have PTMD deliver your NHS repeat prescriptions in Stratford Upon Avon and Shipston on Stour.