Pharmacy staff warn they are suffering shortages in EVERY major medicine ...

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Pharmacists in the UK have warned of shortages of every major type of medicine – including antidepressants and blood pressure pills.

Drugs for epileptics and diabetics as well as heartburn pills are also in low supply, according to a shocking poll of more than 400 pharmacists in the UK.

Staff have told how they are on a 'knife edge' trying to cope amid fears from angry patients that they may not able to get their drugs.

It comes amid a nationwide HRT shortage that has seen British women buy the pills abroad, over claims the supply issues could last until mid-2020. 

Several contraceptive pills have also become difficult to get hold of, while doctors have been told to hold off from issuing repeat prescriptions for the antidepressant Prozac.  

Health chiefs have also repeatedly warned the situation may only worsen if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal on October 31.

Pharmacists have warned they are suffering shortages in every major medicine category – including antidepressants and blood pressure pills

Pharmacists have warned they are suffering shortages in every major medicine category – including antidepressants and blood pressure pills

A shortfall was reported across all 36 categories of medicines included in the survey by Chemist and Druggist. No specific drugs or brand names were mentioned.

A total of 402 community pharmacy professionals reported what medicines they had struggled to get in the last six months.

HRT drugs were most commonly in short supply, with 84 per cent of respondents having difficulty sourcing the products.

Some 67 per cent of pharmacy staff said they have struggled to get contraceptives, and 58 per cent experienced supply issues of antiepileptic drugs.

More than half reported a shortage of creams for inflammed skin or blood circulation problems, such as rubefacients, topical NSAIDs, or capsaicin. 

More than 20 per cent reported drugs for diabetes were in short supply.

Antipsychotic drugs - for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - and pain relief pills, which may include codeine, also were low in supply. 

If pharmacists cannot find a drug to fill out a prescription, they have to send patients back to their GPs to get an alternative. 

HRT CRISIS FORCING WOMEN TO SEEK TREATMENT ABROAD

Women have been forced into buying HRT medication from abroad as it is now almost impossible to get in Britain.

Shortages have been going on for months but reached 'crisis point' this week as most Evorel patches – the UK market leader – disappeared from the shelves.

Many alternatives were already out of stock and the two main pharmaceutical wholesalers have completely run out of all commonly-prescribed HRT patches, according to an audit seen by the Daily Mail.

Manufacturers are rationing what little stock they have with the support of the Department of Health, which has been slammed for its 'disastrous' handling of the crisis.

Some women have been buying boxes for their friends from pharmacies while on holiday in Spain. One patient has even been air-freighting HRT from South Africa.

Around two-thirds of HRT treatments have been hit by shortages. They include Evorel and Elleste, the two most popular brands, which are prescribed to upwards of 100,000 women a year – more than half of those on the treatment.

More than half of women on HRT are prescribed patches, which are applied once or twice a week below the waist.

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