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Medicine shortages in UK reach alarming levels, Brexit blamed

Anadolu Agency EUROPE
Published April 18,2024
(File Photo)

Medicine shortages in the UK have reached a critical juncture, with Brexit exacerbating an already dire situation, according to a report by a health think tank released on Thursday.

The report, authored by Mark Dayan, the Brexit program lead at Nuffield Trust, paints a troubling picture of a healthcare system grappling with a "new normal" of scarcity in essential medications.

The findings underscore a dramatic escalation in the unavailability of crucial drugs, creating profound challenges for healthcare professionals, pharmacies, the National Health Service (NHS), and most critically, patients.

According to the report, the number of warnings issued by drug companies on impending supply issues has more than doubled, surging from 648 in 2020 to a staggering 1,634 last year alone.

Dayan expressed deep concern over the unprecedented rise in medicine shortages.

"The rise in shortages of vital medicines from rare to commonplace has been a shocking development that few would have expected a decade ago. More and more patients across the UK are experiencing a pharmacist telling them that their medication is not available, it may not be available soon, and it may not be available anywhere nearby," he said.

He also said Brexit added several additional problems, with products no longer flowing as smoothly across the borders with the EU.

"In the long term our struggles to approve as many medicines might mean we have fewer alternatives available," he said.

Particularly alarming is the persistent scarcity of drugs vital for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), type 2 diabetes, and epilepsy, which have plagued the healthcare landscape since last year.