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News Daily: Medicines shortage, Prince Philip crash and Bercow peerage

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'Unconscious' stockpiling

Many common medicines are becoming hard to get hold of, leaving patients complaining of delays. Widely-used painkillers, anti-depressants and blood pressure drugs are among 80 on the "shortage of supply" list for England - up from 45 in October - and pharmacists say they're having to pay "vastly increased" prices for them. Some are sending patients back to their GPs to ask for a different medicine or dosage - others are giving patients some of their prescription and sending them away with an IOU note for the rest.

Why is this happening? Well, factors include increased global demand, pricier raw materials and new regulatory requirements driving up prices. But Brexit also appears to be making things worse. The government has told drug manufacturers to stockpile six weeks' worth of supplies in case of a no-deal scenario. Hospitals, distributors and patients have been told not to stockpile, but those in the know say that some inevitably will be - even "unconsciously" - holding onto a bit extra... just in case.

Drug manufacturers prefer to call it a "tightening of supply" rather than a shortage, and say such fluctuations are "normal". The government is stressing that most medicines are unaffected.

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Royal crash

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Prince Philip is recovering after being involved in a car crash close to the Queen's Sandringham estate. The duke, who's 97, was behind the wheel when the collision happened on the A149. He was unhurt, but one witness described him as "very, very shocked and shaken". Two women in the other vehicle suffered minor injuries. The BBC's Jonny Dymond says there'll be some surprise that the elderly duke still drives himself on public roads, but he has always been fiercely independent. Perhaps, though, our royal correspondent adds, that might be about to change.

Incidentally, the speed limit on the stretch of road where the crash happened is expected to be reduced from 60mph to 50mph at a council meeting later. Norfolk County Council was already due to discuss safety issues before the royal incident.

Bercow snub?

It's a tradition dating back 230 years that Commons Speakers are automatically given a peerage when they retire. However, our political correspondent Chris Mason has been told that such is the anger among senior levels of government at John Bercow's handling of Brexit, his move to the Lords could be blocked. A cabinet source said: "I can't imagine we would look favourably on those who've cheated centuries of procedure."

Mr Bercow has faced accusations that he is not impartial, given he voted Remain, and earlier this month, plenty within government furiously claimed he broke precedent to unfairly help those opposed to Theresa May's Brexit deal.

Quiz of the week

Kept abreast of things? Test yourself.

How will history judge President Trump?

By Nick Bryant, BBC News, Washington

Hostile historians may come to regard Donald Trump's presidency as an aggregation of the lesser traits of his predecessors. The bullying of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who demeaned White House aides and even humiliated his Vice-President Hubert Humphrey... The shameless lies of Bill Clinton about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. The paranoia of Richard Nixon... The incompetence of George W Bush... At the midpoint of Donald Trump's first term, historians have struggled to detect the kind of virtues that offset his predecessors' vices.

Read the full article

What the papers say

A picture of the Duke of Edinburgh's overturned Land Rover appears on most front pages. "How did he walk away?" asks the Daily Mail, concluding Prince Philip had a "miracle escape". The Sun claims the duke was in agony and yelling "My legs!" as he was pulled from the wreckage. Back to politics, and the Guardian suggests Jeremy Corbyn could face up to a dozen resignations from the Labour front bench if the party backs another referendum. Theresa May is also at risk of mass resignations, according to the Daily Telegraph, after she said it was "impossible" to rule out a no-deal Brexit. The warning comes from as many as 20 mid-ranking ministers who have indicated that they are prepared to quit the government so they can support backbench moves to halt a no deal. And after Hitachi pulled the plug on a new UK nuclear plant, the Financial Times thinks the government needs a more flexible, affordable and realistic energy strategy.

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Lookahead

Today Three men who blew up a shop in a £300,000 insurance scam, killing five people, to be sentenced

13:00 The chief constable of Sussex Police will be questioned by the force's crime commissioner over its handling of the Gatwick drone crisis

On this day

1981 Thirteen people - all young black men and women - died in a fire at a house in New Cross, south-east London

From elsewhere

YouTube's prank ban deepens the extending rift with its creators (Wired)

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