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Published on 2 March 2010

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Drug export problem to be discussed

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Drug exports will be the big talking point among pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies and Government ministers at a forthcoming summit.

The meeting will discuss why drugs intended for the NHS are being sold to exporters instead.

Firms are making big profits by buying medicines in Britain and exporting them – the weak pound and low NHS prices have encouraged the practice.

The National Pharmacy Association will also urge health minister Mike O’Brien to call on corporations to end the medicines quotas they place on pharmacies.

Chief executive John Turk said: “The vast majority of pharmacists are not involved in export and are working flat-out to get medicines to patients when and where they need them. Quotas, introduced to regulate supply, have in some cases made matters worse, with pharmacists having to spend hours phoning, faxing and pleading with suppliers to fulfil prescriptions for certain medicines.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “We have been very clear in setting out to the supply chain their legal and ethical duties through joint guidance and a letter from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, detailing the consequences on patients in the future if this practice continues.”

Copyright Press Association 2010

National Pharmacy Association



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