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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

System working hard to replenish stocks of antibiotics - Department of Health

Northern Ireland's Department of Health has issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon, December 13th, as concerns and frustrations grow over the supply of antibiotics across in pharmacies across the province.

Winter pressures combined with a demand for the treatment for Strep A infections has led to shortages, although the UK Government has denied any supply issues over the last week.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said:

"The demand for antibiotics for the treatment of Group A Streptococcus infection remains at an exceptional level.

"To put this in context, it is estimated that around one month’s worth of stock based on normal demand was exhausted in less than 48 hours last week. While demand is well in excess of what is usual for this time of year, the system has been working hard to replenish stocks as quickly as possible, as such wholesalers are still receiving and making deliveries, with more scheduled over the coming days.

"Wholesalers are carefully managing the volumes available to them to ensure that supplies are available to those in greatest need.

"The increase in demand for antibiotics is being seen across the UK and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), who have lead responsibility for continuity of medicines supply on a UK-wide basis, are working closely with manufacturers and wholesalers to expedite resupply deliveries to secure continuity of supply. The supply chain has responded positively to this unprecedented surge in demand with suppliers increasing manufacturing capacity and fast-tracking delivery of ingredients required for production.

"Locally community pharmacies, wholesalers and procurement teams have been working tirelessly to secure stock deliveries into Northern Ireland. The Department acknowledges the immense efforts from all involved.

"The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer has updated pharmacy teams on the current situation and to ask that pharmacy teams work with prescribers to understand local antibiotic availability and refrain from ordering excessive quantities to avoid putting the supply chain under additional pressure.

"Advice to HSC clinicians on the management of the current supply issues, including signposting to use of alternatives as necessary, has also been issued.

"The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer and DoH colleagues will continue to liaise closely with DHSC with regard to the UK-wide supply chain, ensuring that Northern Ireland’s supply needs are fully understood."


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