Drug shortages could increase hospital admissions, heart charity warns

Medicines shortages in the UK could increase hospital admissions leaving heart disease patients for days or weeks without treatment, a charity has warned.

GP reported last month that patients are still unable to get hold of vital medicines they have been prescribed, despite DoH guidance issued in a bid to address the problem.

Dr Dermot Neely, chairman of Heart UK’s medical and scientific research committee, has told GP supply problems mean patients ‘may have to go for days or even weeks without treatment’.

‘In recent months we have had a growing number of complaints from patients who have been unable to obtain supplies of their regular lipid lowering medications from their local pharmacies,’ said.

‘Particularly affected have been those patients who have been unable to tolerate standard statin treatments and are taking less commonly prescribed medicines to control their high cholesterol levels.’

Dr Dermot Neely point out that, since it can take a few weeks to build up to the required dose when taking these medications, interruption of the supply can be a major inconvenience.

‘It is well recognised that any loss of control of cholesterol can cause instability of cardiac conditions such as angina,’ he said.

‘If a large number of patients were to be affected, this apparently minor supply problem could lead to an increase in hospital admissions.’

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