Intended for healthcare professionals


GP workloads are made worse by shortages of common drugs

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 21 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l315

Linked opinion

Shortages of medicines are having a impact on primary care

  1. Harriet Pike
  1. Cambridge

Drug shortages are increasingly affecting GPs and patients, who may be sent back to their doctor when a medicine is out of stock at the pharmacy, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has warned.

“Patients are being disadvantaged, as they can’t get the medicines they need when they need them,” said Ash Soni, president of the society and a community pharmacist in London. “It’s making patients run around and making GPs’ workload worse. Pharmacists are spending significant amounts of time chasing medicines, and we’re having to explain to GPs when we can’t source the medicines they have prescribed.”

Data from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, which represents community pharmacy contractors in England, show that the number of drugs in short supply has risen sharply in recent months. It now stands at 80, up from 45 in October 2018 and is approaching November 2017 levels, when the …

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