Intended for healthcare professionals


UK drug shortages have been exacerbated by Brexit, say analysts

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 19 April 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q911
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

Ministers must do more to anticipate shortages of medicines in the UK, which have become shockingly severe and have become a “new normal” since Brexit, say health analysts.

The health think tank the Nuffield Trust said that global supply problems had worsened shortages of lifesaving drugs such as antibiotics and epilepsy treatments and warned that the UK risked being “left in the cold” in tackling the problems outside the European Union.1

In its report, The Future for Health After Brexit, published on 18 April, the Nuffield Trust also said that the UK had since Brexit “intensified its reliance on migration” as a source for health and social care workers. A total of 45 000 staff from “red list countries” were now working in the NHS in England, a 30% increase in just one year. These are countries deemed to have too few trained clinicians …

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