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'Disappointing' watchdog will not investigate shortages

Pharmacy Voice has criticised the Competition and Markets Authority's decision not to formally investigate the issue, saying pharmacists deal with shortages "most weeks"


Pharmacy Voice has branded a government watchdog's failure to formally investigate stock shortages “disappointing”.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced last week (December 11) that there is not enough "persuasive evidence" about shortages to justify a formal investigation into the issue.

Pharmacy Voice responded that “a great many” pharmacy teams have to deal with shortages “most weeks”.

The lobbying group will continue to "challenge" manufacturing body the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) to make a "concrete commitment" that medicines will be delivered within 24 hours of ordering, it told C+D yesterday (December 14). 

Continuing difficulties

National Pharmacy Association (NPA) head of communications Stephen Fishwick told C+D community pharmacists are at the “sharp end” of the issue, because shortages distress and inconvenience patients.

It was "significant" that the CMA had highlighted "inflexibly applied quotas" as one source of shortages, he said. "The onus is now surely on manufacturers to justify the continuation of their blanket approach to quotas," he said.

Avicenna commercial director Raj Haria said chasing out-of-stock medicines costs some independent pharmacists "valuable time".

Being forced to source medicines from several suppliers also reduces any discount contractors receive from wholesalers, and may lead to surcharges, he added.

Practice pharmacist Robin Conibere, from Beacon Medical Group in Devon, said on Twitter that the CMA had not considered enough "patient voices" when it made "preliminary enquiries" into the issue in August.


How often do stock shortages affect your patients?

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