Patients are coming to harm due to drug shortages, GPs have warned, as a GPonline survey revealed four out of five GPs were pushed to prescribe second-choice medicines in the last year due to shortages.
In the GPonline survey of 441 GPs, 82% said drug shortages had forced them to prescribe a second-choice drug in the past 12 months. Just 12% said they had not, while 6% indicated they did not know. One in five (18%) of the GPs who had prescribed a second-choice drug said that patients had gone on to experience negative effects as a result, including harm or slower recovery. Another 43% said they were not aware of any adverse effects, and 39% said they did not know.
Many GP respondents expressed their frustration at the situation, which several reported had happened on a number of occasions. One said a patient had suffered because the medicine they needed was not manufactured for a time. Another said that, while no patients had experienced major effects, ‘some have complained of increased side effects’.
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