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The shortages diaries: how bad is the problem for pharmacies?

Contractors recorded their medicine shortages every day for a week

As part of C+D’s week focusing on medicine shortages, we asked community pharmacies across the UK to diarise their stock struggles

As C+D’s exclusive findings – which were picked up by most national media outlets – revealed last week, medicine shortages are a growing issue. In fact, our survey revealed that 43% of pharmacy teams now spend more than an hour a day on average sourcing medicines.

But how do these shortages vary across the UK?

C+D has asked a pharmacy in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to keep a diary of the items they struggled to obtain during one week in September, to get a snapshot of the problem.

These diaries reveal that the volume and nature of shortages varies greatly depending on region and patient population. But what unites them all is the extra work required to try and ensure patients continue to receive their medicines as required.

Click to skip to a country:


This diary is from the team at Evergreen Pharmacy, Birmingham, submitted by owner Rifat Asghar-Hussain.


This diary is from the team at Sylvia Williams Chemist, Cowbridge, submitted by contractor Kate Thomas.


This diary is from the team at Cadham Pharmacy, Fife, submitted by owner Bernadette Brown.

Northern Ireland

This diary is from the team at Bannside Pharmacy, Portglenone, submitted by contractor Eoghan O'Brien.

C+D spent last week exploring the growing impact of medicine shortages on community pharmacy staff. Read the coverage so far and join the conversation by tweeting #MedicineShortagesWeek

Have you struggled to source any of the same medicines?

Meera Sharma, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

All I can say is that this situation is a nightmare and the stress of it is impacting on pharmacists' wellbeing. 

A B, Community pharmacist

I admit shortages are a massive headache and getting alternatives from the doctor is not always straight forward.

But some of these products reported are discontinued or are only available through script verifcation e.g. epipen. Also, a few of these could be easily solved with a simple switch to an alternative brand or generic e.g. cerelle to generic, fenbid gel to generic or evorel to estraderm (unless the patient insists on a brand then they just have to wait!).

, Editorial

Creon 40000 and Loestrin 20/30 have also been discontinued.

C A, Community pharmacist

Eoghan - Cilest is discontinued - alternatives are Cilique or Lizinna (I've been able to get Cilique)

C A, Community pharmacist

No mention of -

Tegretol 200mg?

Tegretol 400mg?

Last week Ranitidine 150mg and 300mg 

Extra fun this week with Codeine 15mg and 30mg going out of stock too

Job of the week

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