UK takes steps to tackle antibiotic shortages

“The growing demand for antibiotics prescribed to treat Strep A infections means that some pharmacists are unable to supply the drugs prescribed” by doctors, Health Minister Will Quince said in a press release confirming a shortage that has worried parents and health professionals for weeks.

Cases of infection are increasing

At least 17 children have died in the UK from a strep A infection in recent weeks, and cases of infections are on the rise, according to the UK Health Safety Agency.

Three treatments based on penicillin, one of the main antibiotics used to fight these infections but also against scarlet fever, which is also experiencing a resurgence of cases, are now subject to a “severe shortage protocol”, according to the Ministry of Health. Health. Pharmacists are therefore now allowed to give patients an alternative form of penicillin without the patients having to get a new prescription from their doctor.

“We are working to establish the facts about what is really happening on the market” and “we are ready to react if there is evidence of illegal anti-competitive behavior”

“We are taking decisive steps to solve these temporary problems and improve access to these medicines, continue to work with manufacturers and wholesalers to speed up deliveries, free up stocks, they must ensure that they reach where they are needed and thus increase the supply to meet the demand as soon as possible,” assured the Minister of Health.

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On Wednesday, the UK’s Competition Authority (CMA) announced that it was launching an investigation into certain pharmaceutical companies’ increase in prices of antibiotics used to treat streptococcal A infections.

Rising demand and prices

Faced with rising demand, some pharmacists said they would have to pay £19 (€22.15) for a box of antibiotics which normally cost them just a few pounds.

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