Drugs profiteering hits patients

Thousands of patients regularly experience delays in obtaining essential medicines because profiteering traders are selling drugs intended for the NHS to higher-paying European countries – more than 18 months after the Government promised to tackle the problem.

MPs, pharmacists and patient groups say the Government must strengthen legislation to outlaw the export of scarce drugs because self-regulation has failed. More than 40 per cent of pharmacists are aware of "serious patient incidents" because of the shortages; two-thirds know patients who have been forced to miss doses, according to the National Pharmacy Association.