Medication shortages: full list of drugs UK pharmacies are running low on

Britain is facing a shortage of drugs that could leave people without access to medication they need, a report has warned.

By Lloyd Bent
Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 1:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 2:29 pm
Pharmacists are warning of a shortage of drugs. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Pharmacists are warning of a shortage of drugs. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Pharmacists have warned that a number of vital types of medicine - including diabetes drugs, antiviral treatments, blood pressure pills and painkillers - could all be in short supply.

A poll by Chemist + Druggist has revealed the drugs crisis that could affect millions who are in desperate need of medical treatment.

The survey, which involved 402 pharmacists, found that almost half of pharmacy teams now spend more than an hour every day ringing round GPs and wholesalers trying to source the drugs they need for their customers. Manufacturing problems are to blame for the shortage, and pharmacists surveyed have described their situation as “living on a knife edge” and called for “urgent action”.

Which drugs are in short supply?

The nationwide survey found that the shortage of drugs was an issue across 36 major categories of medicine.


Anti-arrhythmic drugs

Beta-adrenoceptor blocking drugs

Antihypertensive drugs


Antipsychotic drugs



Calcium-channel blocking drugs



Antiplatelet drugs

Lipid-regulating drugs



Cough preparations

Nasal decongestants

Hypnotics and anxiolytics

Antidepressant drugs


Antiepileptic drugs

Drugs used in alcohol, nicotine o…

Antibacterial drugs

Antifungal drugs

Antiviral drugs

Antidiabetic drugs


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory…

Rubefacients, topical NSAIDS, or…

Anti-infective eye preparations

Emollient and barrier preparations

Topical corticosteroids

Immunological products and…



Hormone replacement therapy

The Department for Health has denied that any of the shortage is related to Brexit.

A total of 84 per cent of the pharmacists interviewed said that they had experienced shortages of HRT in the past six months. This medication is needed by thousands to help alleviate menopause symptoms.

Diabetes drug shortages were experienced by more than a fifth of pharmacists, while two thirds said that contraceptive drugs had been scarce and more than half reported a lack of painkilling creams.

And antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs were reported as being in short supply, too.