Drugs: Shortages

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 19 July 2023.

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Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Labour, Weaver Vale

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to resolve medicine shortages affecting pharmacies.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Medicine shortages are an ongoing issue that the Department has been managing for many years. The production of medicines is complex and highly regulated, and materials and processes must meet rigorous safety and quality standards. Supply problems can arise for various reasons such as manufacturing issues, problems with raw ingredients and batch failures. The Department has well-established processes to manage and mitigate the small number of supply problems that may arise at any one time due to manufacturing or distribution issues.

There is a team within the Department which deals specifically with medicine supply issues arising both in the community and hospitals across the United Kingdom.  It works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the pharmaceutical industry, NHS England and others operating in the supply chain, including suppliers and wholesalers, to help prevent shortages and expedite resupply where possible to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when they do arise. The team develop guidance which is shared with the National Health Service, including community pharmacies, advising on how to manage supply issues.

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