NHS patients will be able to get the medicines they need more easily following the introduction of new rules, it has been revealed.

The package of rules was agreed at a summit hosted by health secretary Andy Burnham to tackle problems over the supply of medication.

Under the rules, manufacturers and wholesalers will have a greater duty to ensure sufficient medicines are available to the NHS.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority will also conduct targeted inspections to ensure legal duties are being met.

If inspectors find that laws are being breached then manufacturers and wholesalers risk prosecution and could lose their licences.

Licences will also be more difficult to obtain under the new rules and medical professionals will receive guidance on how to deal with supply problems.

A government spokesperson said: “We have reached agreement on a way to help NHS patients get the medicines they need. Manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacy bodies, regulators and government all agreed to work together to resolve the issue.”