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Medicine supply issues

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First you'll ring your wholesaler.  They'll probably give you a non-committalanswer which will make you feel that you'd have been better off consulting a crystalball.  Then you'll call the branchesclosest to you, but they won't have any either, and if they do they'll protectthem like a mother protects her cubs. Finally, you'll call the manufacturer and, as the instructions of how toget a supply becomes longer and longer ("send your request on the third dayafter the first full moon of the month"), you'll regret not having pen andpaper.

By now you will probably haveguessed that I'm referring to the process of getting hold of medicines with ‘supplyissues'.  That wonderfully vague term thatseems to have become the pharmacy equivalent of the ‘dog ate my homework'excuse.

It's a term met with rolled eyesand frustration, and it's understandable why. Resolving supply issues takes a ridiculous amount of time, effort andresources which could be better used elsewhere. Half of pharmacists recently surveyed by Lloyds Pharmacy said they spendbetween one and three hours per week resolving supply issues.

Thankfully, there's now an All-PartyPharmacy Group investigating the issue.  Hopefully this will lead to something withmore gravitas than the current best practice guidance that doesn't appear tohave helped.

The ethos at the Department ofHealth is that regulation is not the answer. Discussion and partnership with industry is the preferred option, asevidenced by the controversial decision to involve the likes of McDonald's andPepsi in the Change4Life campaign.

I don't think pharmacistsparticularly care which approach is taken. As long as they can be sure that a medicine ordered will be a medicinedelivered.

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