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National warns of nationwide drug shortage

National warns of nationwide drug shortage

National’s Associate Health spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison, is warning patients suffering from a nationwide drug shortage that things may get worse.

Dr Hutchison has a list of over 30 drugs that chemists say they can’t get for their patients until new supplies arrive or other companies supply them.

He says the controversial drug-purchasing policy of the Government’s drug funding agency, Pharmac, has led to supplies of basic drugs, for conditions such as gout, iron deficiency, and even constipation, literally drying up.

“Chemists I have contacted from Pukekohe to Gore put the shortages down to Pharmac’s purchasing methods, such as ‘sole supply deal’. In effect, Pharmac does a deal with one supplier only, cutting other suppliers out. Even though the supplier should guarantee a continuous supply, in practice, shortages occur as is happening throughout the country now.

“This problem won’t be fixed overnight.

“The shortage may seriously affect thousands of patients with common conditions. For example, for pregnant women who are unable to obtain iron folate supplements, the shortage could lead to anaemia or even birth defects.

“Though Pharmac has served New Zealand well by keeping drug costs down, it is time the organisation was reviewed. But Labour is, once again, not listening.

“Sensible and practical adjustments to Pharmac would benefit all New Zealanders,” says Dr Hutchison.

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