APPG Medicines Shortages Inquiry



In November 2011 the All Party Pharmacy Group launched its inquiry into the shortage of NHS prescription medicines – a problem that had been occurring across the supply chain for a number of years with no sign of improving. Over the course of 6 months the Group’s inquiry received over 40 written evidence submissions, and took oral evidence from manufacturers, pharmacists, wholesalers, patients groups and the Department of Health.


The report of the inquiry, published on May 15th 2012 found that:


  • Shortages are being caused principally by the export of medicines intended for NHS patients to other EU countries – a practice which is legal under European legal provisions for the free movement of goods.
  • These shortages are then being worsened by attempts by those in the supply chain to solve the problem through the introduction of quotas and other alternative supply mechanisms.
  • Pharmacists have to spend long periods of time sourcing medicines in short supply – meaning they have less time to spend with patients.
  • Patients are suffering as a result of shortages, and the Group has heard of examples where patients serious conditions such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, and diabetes have not been able to get crucial medicines when they have needed them. There have also been incidences of people being hospitalised as a direct result of medicines shortages.
  • The Department of Health has sought to address the problem and intervened on a number of occasions with no effect – the problem of medicines shortages is getting worse, not better. 
  • For the full report, as well as transcripts of each oral evidence session, and a dossier of the written evidence submitted, please use the menu options to the left.


For further details please contact



click on the links below to download:

First Oral Evidence Session – 24th January

Second Oral Evidence Session – 7th February

Third Oral Evidence Session – 6th March

Fourth Oral Evidence Session: BIPWA– 13th March

Fourth Oral Evidence Session: THE PATIENTS ASSOCIATION
– 13th

Fifth Oral Evidence Session – 26th March

Written submissions:

Please click here to download the evidence submitted to the Inquiry. (PDF - 9MB)

APPG Medicines Shortages Report



The All Party Pharmacy Group has today published the report of its Inquiry into NHS medicine shortages.

For the full report please click here


For further details please contact


This is not an official website of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in these webpages are those of the group. The All-Party Pharmacy Group receives financial support from: Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and Pharmacy Voice (PV). Secretariat functions are provided by Luther Pendragon. A full list of Luther Pendragon’s clients can be found here