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The NHS is running short of dozens of lifesaving medicines including treatments for cancer, heart conditions and epilepsy, the Guardian has learned.

An internal 24-page document circulated to some doctors last Friday from the medicine supply team at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), headed “commercial-sensitive”, listed many drugs currently hit by shortages at the NHS.

The document warned: “This information is confidential to the NHS, please do not upload to websites in the public domain.”

The document listed 17 new drug shortages identified last week including drugs for cancer, Parkinson’s, mental health problems and some eye conditions. It also identified ongoing issues with 69 different types and doses of medication including antibiotics for tuberculosis, diamorphine, various cancer drugs, heart condition drugs, Hepatitis vaccines and anti-epilepsy drugs. Eight drugs have been discontinued and supply issues with over 20 drugs, where there were previous shortages, have now been resolved.

The document said that because there are shortages of many licensed medicines, in some cases unlicensed versions may be imported although “lead times vary”.

While shortages of some drugs have been reported previously, doctors have said that the breadth of conditions identified in the list obtained by the Guardian was “unprecedented”. Read more

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