Two out of three pharmacies are suffering from daily medication shortages, new research has revealed.

Supply issues with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and drugs to treat other conditions such as cancer and heart issue are causing concern for many across the county.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), which represents more than 11,000 pharmacies nationwide, has warned that 67pc of its members are facing supply problems daily.

And in its survey of more than 1,000 pharmacy staff, it found that 75pc had faced “aggression from patients” due to the medicine supply issues.

Amid the growing concerns, residents across Norfolk have taken to social media to express their fears.

From going without essential medication for almost two weeks to travelling to five different pharmacies to have a prescription made up – many have been wondering what will be done.

One patient, from Holt, shared in a public forum online that she had to go without her tablets for three days due to problems with her surgery, despite suffering from “very high” blood pressure.

Another claimed to have gone without an inhaler for asthma during the entire Easter holidays.

While a cancer patient opened up about feeling “always anxious” after difficulties with supplies of her cancer medication.

Eastern Daily Press: Pharmacists are spending significant time calling suppliersPharmacists are spending significant time calling suppliers (Image: Archant)

Some people said they had been forced to get their doctor to sign their prescription script and to travel elsewhere in the county to have it dispensed – with one person in Norwich trying up to five separate pharmacies until they found stock.

Experts have warned that disruption to supply chains during the pandemic has exacerbated problems.

The PSNC survey found that all members were dealing with shortages at least once a week, including 67pc who were dealing with such issues daily.

More than half said patients were being negatively affected by supply chain issues on a daily basis. On average, pharmacies were found to be spending more than five hours a week trying to obtain medicines in short supply.

Professor Claire Anderson, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, explained that variations in the supply of medicines were being caused by “complex issues” such as global demand for a medicine.

She added: “The market for any medicine is not just UK based and when demand goes up, supply can become more limited even if the manufacturer is working at full capacity.

“There can also be issues with obtaining ingredients, or a manufacturing problem at a factory, all of which impact how easily we obtain our medicines.

“These variations are managed on a daily basis by pharmacists, who have to spend time ringing round wholesalers to source medicines, when of course we’d rather be talking to our patients about their health and care.”

Eastern Daily Press: HRT is affected by the shortagesHRT is affected by the shortages (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

She also specially addressed HRT access. She said: “Pharmacists are working hard with GPs to get women the medicines they need.

“We look forward to working with the newly appointed government champion for HRT on how we can better support women’s health.”

As well as concerns for patients' health, the PSNC is concerned that current supply problems may impact pharmacy teams’ workload too and could potentially impact employees in the industry as well as their patients.

The Department for Health and Social Care produces a monthly update of shortages for primary and secondary care, that can be found on the Specialist Pharmacy Service website.

And an amendment to The Human Medicines Regulations 2019 legislation added a Serious Shortage Protocol to allows for pharmacists and contractors to supply patients with a "reasonable and appropriate substitute" if their prescription has an active SSP.

Anyone with concerns is asked to contact their GP.

Plans to ensure continued access of HRT

Health and social care secretary, Sajid Javid, has enforced Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) to limit the dispensing of some HRT products to three months’ supply.

Eastern Daily Press: Health Secretary Sajid Javid has revealed no further Covid rules will be introduced in 2021Health Secretary Sajid Javid has revealed no further Covid rules will be introduced in 2021 (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

Patients who have a prescription for more than three months but are only able to access three months’ supply will not have to pay an additional prescription charge, meaning they will not incur any additional costs.

This follows the recent appointment of vaccine taskforce director general, Madelaine McTernan, to spearhead a new HRT Supply Taskforce.

She said: “This is a step in the right direction of tackling the supply issues women are facing when it comes to accessing HRT and ensuring ongoing, reliable supply.”

Mr Javid added: “We will leave no stone unturned in our national mission to boost supply of HRT.”

The SSPs are set to expire on Friday, July 29 2022 and pharmacists are expected to use their professional judgement when deciding to apply the SSP. All patients must be consulted.

Have you been affected by the shortages? Let us know by emailing