The Department of Health has said it is working to manage medicine shortages in order to minimise the impact on patients.

A survey by the Irish Pharmacy Union has shown medicine shortages are widespread in Ireland and the issue is posing a risk to the health of patients.

The study shows there has been a significant increase in medicine shortages in the last year with 98% of pharmacists noticing a lack of supply.

The supply of drugs affected includes Cymbalta, which treats depression, Lyrica, for pain relief, and Chloromycetin eye ointment.

The IPU is calling on the Government to introduce Patient Service Obligations, meaning the manufacturer has to take steps to ensure that there is adequate supply of all medicines.

The union is also calling for the introduction of an "alert system" that would ensure that when production is low pharmacists will be informed.