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MPs meet for talks to solve medicines shortage

By Richard Staines

An influential committees of MPs will next week discuss the looming crisis of a shortage of medicines in the NHS, caused by more and more drugs being exported because of the weak pound.

The All-Party Pharmacy Group, chaired by Howard Stoate MP, is investigating why there is a shortage of common drugs in the health service.

More and more pharmacies are spending time trying to find medicines that when they should be advising patients and providing health services, the committee heard.

Dr Stoate said: ‘We are getting recurring themes around whether supplies are being lost to parallel exporting, that is one of the themes. The Euro is much stronger than the pound and there is money to be made by exporting drugs to Europe.

‘The other is are the manufacturers making enough product?'

Research by IMS Health has revealed 11% of the UK's 12,600 pharmacies and a tiny number of dispensing doctors are engaged in parallel exporting, which is legal, and that the trade is now worth £30m per month.

Emergency deliveries have soared by 1,156% since last year, with 77,020 recorded in the first six months of 2009, compared with just 6,134 in the same period during 2008.

This was despite the fact that for nearly every drug on a British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesailers missing order list, supplies exceeded demand.

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MPs are to meet to discuss a shortage of medicines in the NHS MPs are to meet to discuss a shortage of medicines in the NHS

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