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C+D gathers evidence of patient harm from stock shortages

Sort Out Stocks More than 20 pharmacies across the country have reported examples of medicine shortages using C+D interactive tool, including five cases where they believe patients have been severely harmed.

Evidence of stock shortages has been pouring in to C+D since the launch of its online interactive reporting tool this month.

More than 20 pharmacies across the country have already reported examples of medicine shortages, including five cases where they believe patients have been severely harmed.

Sort Out Stocks resources Patient form

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Report instances of stock shortages

Browne's Pharmacy in Sidcup, Kent reported three cases of severe patient harm. An asthma patient had difficulty breathing in this summer's heatwave when she could not get hold of Spiriva refill capsules. An asthma attack could have resulted in death, pharmacy manager Arvinder Gill told C+D.

Another patient had to be sent to a different branch because he could not get hold of the typhoid vaccine Typhim and a pregnant woman could not get Trandate for hypertension. "If she had a really bad night she may well have called 999," he said. "The facts aside, this is somebody's life, somebody's health."

Witterings Pharmacy in East Wittering, Hampshire reported two cases of severe patient harm. A patient who had been taking Trazodone for 12 years for severe anxiety disorder had to be prescribed Diazepam and Mirtazipine due to a shortage. But this has "neither worked nor helped", the pharmacy reported. "The patient has been presenting sometimes in floods of tears, others trembling, panicking. It has caused her unnecessary stress."

Other medicines pharmacists have reported to be in short supply in the past fortnight:

Pancrease HL, Gabapentin, Questran, Tildiem LA, Bricanyl, Azilect, Caverject, co-triamterzide, Lomotil, Vesicare, Sulfinpyrazone  

C+D is building up a dossier of evidence to present to pharmacy minister Earl Howe after he called on pharmacists this month to prove that stock shortages were harming patients. Fill in our resources by October 12 and we will take your evidence to the government.

Visit the Sort Out Stocks homepage for more information and to sign C+D's petition against stock shortages.

Will you use C+D's tools to help highlight patient harm from stock shortages?

Comment below or email us at [email protected] You can also find C+D on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook


Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

One of our patients needs a regular supply of Darifenacin which is only available from a single wholesaler - despite right to buy each prescription necessitates three or four telephone calls to get stock released even though the manufacturer informed us last time that over 1000 packs were with the wholesaler! We asked if we could have one pack for the prescription and one for stock so that the patient did not have to wait next time and were informed that this was not possible!

Graham Readman, Superintendent

I find it strange and frustrating that stock is unavailable for weeks only to then reappear at vastly inflated prices when expiry dates show that this is clearly not newly produced stock.

G K, Superintendent Pharmacist

Not only are these kind of stock shortages causing problems but so are ONE WHOLESALER agreements. We desperately needed an asthma medication today but as it is only available through one wholesaler we have to wait a whole day before we can get it! Ridiculous arrangement!

James Watson, Superintendent Pharmacist

One Wholesaler arrangements give that particular wholesaler power over the stock. Alliance have told me themselves that they prioritise 1st line accounts. This is a clear example of a monopoly. Why do the OFT allow this?

mary oliphant, Community pharmacist

We are definitely in a monopoly situation and it is a national disgrace and shame on the two main wholesalers who allocate stock for their own business reasons , purely for profit , no signs of professionalism there.

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