Dr Manesh Saxena explains new blood pressure injection
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Blood pressure medications sit under a category known as “generics”; these are common medications used by the NHS that should not be in short supply.
Around four out of five medications used by the NHS fall under this category.
However, supply chain issues in China and India have meant shortages have arisen.
The British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA) says there is a “real risk” pharmacies and the NHS could face more shortages later this summer.
At the moment around two thirds of pharmacies say they are facing daily issues with supply chains.
Chief executive of the BGMA said: “The generic supply chain is under unprecedented pressure.
“There is a cumulative impact of factors that is unhelpful for the resilience of the NHS supply chain and it does bring a risk of medicine shortages.”
The shortage of blood pressure medications comes just weeks after questions were raised over the supply of HRT medication.
HRT, also known as Hormone Replacement Therapy, is used by menopausal women to combat the loss of oestrogen that occurs during the menopause.
In recent weeks campaigners such as Davina McCall have been raising awareness of the menopause and HRT in a bid to change the conversation around an experience half the population will go through during their lifetime.
Samuels said the shortage of generics had been “taken for granted”, adding: “It is a complex industry, and it is under unprecedented pressure and that does bring a real risk of shortages at the moment.”
Data shows around 50 generics supplied to the NHS are facing supply chain issues; of these, 44 don’t have an equivalent alternative.
Experts say this has created a “perfect storm” within the health service.
The concern is that patients will soon be unable to obtain the medication they require to maintain their current quality of life.
Amid the medicine supply crisis there were concerns the UK’s most popular medicine, statins, could also be in short supply.
However, there is no sign of a potential shortage.
Nevertheless, health figures such as Dr Leyla Hannbeck are starting to call for urgent action from the government.
Of the shortage Dr Hannbeck said: “The pressure of sourcing drug supplies is becoming impossible and this is an issue that really needs to be looked at.
“Why is [it] that we are getting to the hay fever season and suddenly find we have little supply of a popular medication?”
Thousands of hay fever sufferers are having to switch medications after supplies of the antihistamine chlorphenamine maleate ran low earlier this month.
Tips recommended by the NHS to lower blood pressure include:
- Cutting salt intake
- Eating a low-fat, balanced diet
- Be active
- Cutting down on alcohol
- Losing weight
- Drinking less caffeine
- Quitting smoking.
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