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NHS trusts are encountering widespread difficulties in being able to obtain anti-tuberculosis (TB) drugs, according to a study.
Almost two-thirds of trusts who were questioned about their supplies of TB treatment admitted they had found it difficult to get hold of drugs, according to the study, which was published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.
Toby Capstick, lead respiratory pharmacist at St James’s University Hospital, Leeds, and lead author of the paper, said: “We found that 63% of responding NHS trusts reported difficulties in obtaining anti-tuberculosis drugs, which resulted in interruptions in treatment at 27% of the affected trusts, and unintended alterations in the treatment plan for 19% of trusts.
“Often these problems are caused by each anti-tuberculosis drug being manufactured by only one company, so, if they have a problem, then everyone in the UK has a problem.
“Communication in this area is also a problem, as TB treatment centres usually only find out about a manufacturing problem when the hospital and pharmacy department run out of the drug and an order fails to be delivered, which doesn’t really allow for a proactive management plan.”
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