Check current drug shortages with a new tracker from MIMS

GPs can reduce their likelihood of writing prescriptions for products that are out of stock with a new drug shortages tracker from MIMS.

Prescribers have reported supply issues with many widely used medications. | Tinpixels/Getty Images
Prescribers have reported supply issues with many widely used medications. | Tinpixels/Getty Images

Please note - you need to register and log in to view the tracker. Registration is free for GPs and nurses. Practice-based pharmacists can also register for free by emailing gponline.support@haymarket.com. Other users may subscribe at mims.co.uk/subscribe.

The live MIMS product shortages tracker has been created in response to calls from GP leaders for an ‘early warning system’ to flag up medicine supply problems, after doctors recently highlighted an increase in the number of common medicines becoming unavailable.

Updated constantly, the tracker lists products currently reported to be out of stock in the UK and suggests possible alternatives where appropriate. A second tracker lists supply issues reported to have been resolved.

The lists are not exhaustive, but will be developed over time. We welcome notifications from manufacturers or prescribers about other products that are out of stock. Please email us at mimsinfo@haymarket.com and we will investigate.

GP workload

The tracker is designed to help reduce the growing impact of shortages on prescribers' workload. In a survey of 586 GPs conducted by GPonline earlier this year, 31% of GPs reported spending an hour or more each week dealing with the effects of medicines shortages - potentially writing new prescriptions or carrying out follow-up appointments.

More than half of respondents said they had 'often' been forced to prescribe second-choice medication over the past year because of drug shortages. A total of 16% reported being forced to do so 'very often' and a further 35% 'fairly often'.

Meanwhile, one in seven GPs said their patients had experienced negative effects - including harm or slower recovery - after medicines shortages forced them to switch to second-choice drugs.

There has been widespread speculation that the increase in medicine shortages is linked to Brexit. However, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has insisted that medicine supplies are ‘unaffected’ by the UK’s departure from the EU and will therefore not improve as a result of the Brexit deadline being extended to 31 October 2019.

The number of drugs on the PSNC's price concessions list, which gives an indication of which drugs are in short supply, reached a record high in March.

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