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Medication shortages prompts rationing at Suffolk pharmacies

PUBLISHED: 07:30 21 February 2020

Pharmacies across Suffolk are rationing some types of medication due to supply shortages. Chief officer of Suffolk's LPC Tania Farrow is pictured Picture: THE QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITAL/DAVID GARRAD

Pharmacies across Suffolk are rationing some types of medication due to supply shortages. Chief officer of Suffolk's LPC Tania Farrow is pictured Picture: THE QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITAL/DAVID GARRAD

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Medication for common illnesses such as asthma and high blood pressure are being rationed by pharmacies across Suffolk due to a shortage in supply.

Patients suffering from a number of illnesses have seen shortages in recent months, with pharmacies attempting to juggle supplies to ensure no patients go without.

Suffolk's Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), which represents all of Suffolk's pharmacies, has said that a number of reasons - including Britain's choice to leave the EU - have contributed to the shortages.

Tania Farrow, chief officer of Suffolk's LPC, said: "There are shortages across the UK at the moment and these can be down to a number of reasons.

"There can be errors on production lines which can mean there is a lower supply than usual.

"Medication is of course held to a very high standard of quality in the UK and so sometimes medication is recalled for a variety of reasons.

"Also, companies which supply the UK are looking elsewhere for more economically favourable places to sell, since our decision to leave the EU."

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The medical boss said certain medications are currently harder to access than others across Suffolk.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRTS), inhalers and certain blood pressure medications are among those being rationed by pharmacies at the moment.

The shortages mean that some patients are having to compromise, sometimes taking a different brand of medication of a different method of application.

"Patients who are reliant on medication can suffer anxiety and struggle with the hassle of finding a prescription," Ms Farrow added.

"The biggest impact this has however is on the healthcare workers, pharmacists and GPs who are working really hard to manage the burden of helping those who cannot access their normal medication.

"The advice we are giving to patients is to organise prescriptions a week before they are needed. Also I would advise patients to take the advice given to them by medical workers.

"I would ask for patients not to stock-pile medication. It adds to the pressures that are currently being put onto the system. "

In the past two years there have been significant shortages of blood pressure medicatio,n as well as EpiPen forcing the government to intervene - implementing measures to control the amount of medication which could be prescribed.


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