A senior pharmacist says a shortage of penicillin is leading to concerns that some prescriptions will not be met as levels of the seasonal illness continue to rise.
Pharmaceutical director Zeshan Rehmani criticized the Ministry of Health for “losing contact” after the incident proposes giving antibiotics to children in schools to help fight diseases including Strep A – said: “No medicine. Today, we can’t get any penicillin in stock.”
His warning comes amid concerns some parents have used old or expired antibiotics they find at home to treat their children.
That prompted Thorrun Govind, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, to warn against self-diagnosis and urge parents to talk to their GP.
She has warned leftover antibiotics must be returned to pharmacies because there is a risk children could be given the wrong dose.
Nine children in the UK are known to have died in a recent outbreak of a form of Streptococcus Aan infection that is usually mild and is easily treated with the antibiotic amoxicillin.
But an invasive form of bacteria called iGAS has been on the rise this year – especially in children under 10.
The National Pharmaceutical Association confirmed there has been an increase in demand for some antibiotics, including those used to treat Strep A infections in children.
A statement said: “Pharmacies are working very hard to get stock of these antibiotics and some strains are temporarily unavailable.
“The wholesalers have informed us that most of the lines will be added soon, but we cannot say exactly when.
“As always, pharmacists will continue to work with local GPs to help people get the medicine they need as quickly as possible, which may require a change in prescription.”
Mr Rehmani, a pharmacy owner in Manchester, told Sky News’ Inzamam Rashid: “When we hear stories about the possibility giving children antibiotics in schoolit just shows how the Department of Health lost contact with the pharmacy on the ground.”
He added: “Pharmacists across the country are thinking that we don’t have enough penicillin to get prescriptions, let alone distribute to schools.”
Health Secretary Maria Caulfield said a cross-party briefing had been held for MPs on Strep A and she denied there was a shortage of antibiotics.
She said: “We want to reassure parents if their children have symptoms and they are anxious to seek help – the GP is ready, the A&E department is ready and so are we. The director of public health proactively visits schools with cases.
“There’s no shortage of antibiotics, we want to reassure people about that and we’re monitoring that on a daily basis.”
Dr Colin Brown, deputy director of UKHSA, told Sky News there was “long-term guidance” that would allow health protection groups to assess the situation at schools and daycares to consider antibiotic prophylaxis for “a group of children in certain grades or an entire nursery”. schools”.
After the death of at least nine children across the UKDr. Brown reiterated that there is no evidence that there has been a change to circulating strains of Strep A that makes them more severe.
It’s a lack of mixing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, along with sensitivities in children that are “pushing the normal scarlet fever outbreak” this Christmas.