U.K. drug shipments follow the money

Attempting to halt a medication-shortage finger-pointing game, a U.K. trade group is urging government action. Some 40 "well known" drugs are "officially acknowledged" to be in short supply, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain says in an announcement.

The stock shortages affect widely supplied medications for chronic conditions, including hypertension, epilepsy and cancer. The reason is the weakness of the UK sterling currency compared with the Euro, according to the society. The imbalance has caused an increase in demand for drugs made in the U.K., now available for less than those made in other European Union countries.

The bottom line, says the society, is that exports of U.K.-sourced drugs are on the rise. "Medicines manufacture has a long lead time and arguably more medicines may still not reach U.K. patients if the result of more manufacturing simply means more exporting," the announcement says.

- here's the announcement (.pdf)