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Record number of drugs hit by supply problems, trade body warns

BMJ 2023; 383 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p2602 (Published 07 November 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;383:p2602
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. Kent

The NHS is experiencing a record number of problems with the supply of medicines, with Brexit and a government tax among the reasons blamed for the shortages.

The British Generic Manufacturers Association has warned that 111 products are now facing supply problems, the highest on record and more than double the number at the start of 2022. Half of them (55) are branded generic drugs, despite representing 10% of prescription products used in the UK. The drugs with supply problems include hormone replacement therapies, contraceptives, antidepressants, and immunosuppressants.

Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told The BMJ, “Every country has been hit by supply chain disruptions, due to covid and geopolitics, but, as with most other walks of life, Brexit adds to the problems.”

The British Generic Manufacturers Association, the trade body for off-patent medicines, blames the rise in shortages of branded generic drugs on the government’s voluntary scheme for branded medicine pricing and access (VPAS). This is an agreement between the Department …

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