Lake District pharmacy paying 'over the odds' to source medicines in short supply

ITV Border's Katie Templeton-Knight reports

A Lake District pharmacy has said it is struggling to provide customers with certain medications due to a lack of supply.

A report carried out by Community Pharmacy England found that 79 per cent of those surveyed believe "patient health is being put at risk due to medicine supply issues."

Simon Butterworth's family have run Collins & Butterworth Pharmacy in Hawkshead for almost 40 years.

He said: "First we've got to apologise, it's distressing to patients, they've got to know when they can get the medications they need.

"We're having to spend time hunting for it, looking for it or doing our best to find ways to solve that problem for them.

"Certain items are actually costing more to buy than we get paid for them by the NHS.

"The NHS has a fixed tariff, and we're having to pay more money.

"An item we were trying to get this morning was 250 per cent higher than the tariff price, which is significant and builds up over lots of items.

The National Pharmacy Agency reports that around 10 pharmacies a week are closing every week.

Community Pharmacy England has warned that without intervention, these pressures will "lead to the closure of more pharmacies".

Mubasher Ali, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Lancashire and South Cumbria said: "We need to make it more feasible for pharmacies.

"We've got to sort out this funding, it's absolutely crucial to us."

A spokesperson from the Department of Health said: “There are around 14,000 licensed medicines and the overwhelming majority are in good supply.

"Supply issues can arise for a wide range of reasons and are not specific to the UK.

"Our priority is to mitigate risks posed by those issues and to help ensure that patients continue to get the treatments they need.

"Thankfully most issues can be managed with minimal impact to patients.

“We recognise the vital role pharmacies play in our healthcare system and that’s why they are backed by £2.6 billion a year in government funding.

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