Medication supply chains are complex and shortages of specific medicines, brands, and products are unfortunately becoming increasingly common.
There can be a variety of reasons behind these shortages including manufacturing, distribution, or regulatory issues.
The pandemic has shown us that the medicines supply chains are typically fragile, often with multiple international touch points and servicing global markets, often with little in our immediate gift to control, when we experience a supply disruption.
The impact of these shortages is certainly not underestimated by the healthcare professionals working for patients who depend on these medicines and teams will aim to do their best to ensure continuity of care for those affected.
It is important to appreciate that it is extremely unlikely that the Pharmacy team providing medicines in a community, hospital or GP practice setting has the ability to resolve supply issues that occur much further upstream. Abuse being directed at Pharmacy teams is not only completely unacceptable, but also extremely unlikely to impact on the shortage situation. The decade long underinvestment in our workforce means that the NHS is now less able to absorb any changes in our supply chain.
Pharmacists are sometimes limited in their ability to supply alternative medications as these may require a new prescription although they can (and do) work alongside patients and their primary care professional (GP, nurse, other pharmacist) to resolve this as efficiently as possible.
The Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) have been also working with pharmacist colleagues across Europe via the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) reporting medication shortages and supporting their work with patients and other healthcare professionals (https://www.eahp.eu/practice-and-policy/medicines-shortages/2019-
GHP support the vital work that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, including the GHP subgroup, Procurement
Distribution Interest Group (PDIG), do to organise and supply medicines safely to each patient. We denounce verbal or physical abuse against anyone in the Pharmacy Team.
Prof. Roisín O’Hare, (on behalf of the GHP National Executive Committee)
President Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists