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Independents call for urgent action over shortages

By News team

Urgent action is needed over medicine shortages, independent community pharmacists have demanded, while industry leaders continue to defend their systems.

Participants at the third Sigma Pharmaceuticals conference, held in Mauritius last week (20–26 February 2011), want manufacturers, wholesalers, the Government and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee to act to remedy the drug shortage situation in the interest of patients.

One pharmacist said that industry is protecting its financial interests while claiming that pharmacists are making a profit. He suggested that companies repackage their products for the UK market to combat the shortage. Another cited the PSNC’s drug shortage list, which consistently lists the same drugs, and suggested industry makes use of it to plan ahead.

Representatives from the industry, including Genus Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi-Aventis, reminded pharmacists of the complexity of the situation and “genuine problems” in the supply chain, but said they were keen to have dialogue with independent pharmacists.

Secretary general of the British Association of European Pharmaceutical Distributors Richard Freudenburg said the demise of parallel imports, the increase of parallel exports and supply restrictions under the direct-to-pharmacy schemes are to blame for shortages.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11069669

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