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Ban on export of Strep A antibiotics amid ‘shortage’ after 16 children die

MINISTERS have banned exports of Strep A antibiotics amid a scramble for the drugs.

Chemists are paying over the odds for supplies and parents have struggled to get prescriptions filled in a demand surge.

Officials hope banning the export and stockpiling of antibiotics will keep supplies healthy

The government denies there is a shortage but admitted to some local supply issues.

The Department of Health has tonight banned the export of frontline antibiotics amoxicillin, cefalexin, Penicillin V and azithromycin.

Officials said the move will boost supplies and keep drug deliveries flowing.

The ban also prevents companies from “hoarding” huge stockpiles.

Thorrun Govind, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “This means companies now cannot sell these items abroad.

“It’s positive to see this instruction, given the challenges pharmacies in the UK are facing.

“Pharmacy teams are going to tremendous efforts to support patients and they need more support from the government, especially given the price hikes.

“We have seen prices of antibiotics go from £2 to £11 in recent weeks and the government needs to look into this further.”

Dr Leyla Hannbeck, of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, last week said chemists were finding it “very difficult” to get hold of antibiotics.

At least 16 British children have died in the unusual surge in invasive Group A Streptococcus.

Cases of scarlet fever, caused by the same bacteria, are also significantly higher than usual with more than 1,000 infections per week.

A school in Devon was forced to close today because of an outbreak of the bug, which is spread by coughs, sneezes and touching.

A shocking 40 per cent of pupils were off sick at Kingsbridge Community Primary School on Tuesday, along with a quarter of the staff.

Assistant headteacher Miranda Martyn said in a letter to parents: “We are taking this opportunity to close the school today for a deep clean, and intend to reopen again tomorrow.”

The vast majority of Strep A infections are mild and only cause a sore throat, impetigo or scarlet fever, which is easy to treat.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Manufacturers currently have supplies of antibiotics available to treat Strep A.

“We continue to work urgently with manufacturers and wholesalers to expedite deliveries, bring forward stock they have to help ensure it gets to where it’s needed and boost supply to meet demand as quickly as possible and support access to these vital medicines.”

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  1. Pingback: Three more Strep A deaths as total hits 19 – and cases of scarlet fever soar

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