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RPS launches new project to tackle medicines shortages

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has announced that it will head up a new medicine shortages advisory group due to meet “later this month”. 

The membership body’s “new project” will “examine the causes” and “help tackle” the impact of medicines shortages, it has said.

The RPS yesterday (March 13) announced that the advisory group, which will meet “later this month”, will be chaired by RPS Fellow and former deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer (CPhO) Dr Bruce Warner.

Convened by the RPS, the group will also include “experts from primary and secondary care, patients, the pharmaceutical industry, suppliers, regulators, government and the NHS”, it said. 

It added that the group will “develop a report” to support “debate on UK policy” and “provide expert thought leadership”, with recommendations “to address the factors behind medicine shortages and steps to take to reduce their impact”.

Its work will be informed by “a literature review, stakeholder interviews, online RPS member events and patient stories”, it said.


“Practical, short-term solutions”


Commenting on the launch, RPS president Professor Claire Anderson said the group will “bring together key stakeholders, undertake research and offer solutions”.

She stressed that “helping patients get the medicines they need is at the very core of pharmacy practice”.

Health charity coalition National Voices director of policy and external affairs Sharon Brennan said that its members “are increasingly hearing from the people they advocate for regarding concerns around medicine shortages”.

“We are hopeful this advisory group will consider practical, short-term solutions to the current problems patients are facing alongside longer-term solutions,” she added.

And Dr Warner said that the RPS looks forward to examining “what steps can begin to make a difference for patients”.

Last month, chair of the health and social care committee (HSCC) Steve Brine told the 2024 Sigma conference that medicines shortages threaten to “undermine” the government’s goal for Pharmacy First.

He said that it was “nonsensical” that pharmacists lack the “autonomy” to supply a different type of the same medication when confronted with shortages.

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