Around 30 to 40 medicines are in short supply in England at any given time, according to a report by the All Party Pharmacy Group.
The report warns the problem is partially caused by drugs being bought cheaply by licensed medicine wholesalers in the UK and sold at higher prices in other countries.
'We heard of incidents where diabetic patients have suffered hypoglycemic attacks and been hospitalised as a result of not being able to obtain the medicines they needed as they were in shortage,' the report said.
The report also cites examples of patients with mental health problems struggling to obtain medication and pregnant women in need of medicine to stabilise their pregnancy having to wait for supplies to be sourced.
'We wish to see a renewed sense of urgency on the part of those responsible for the medicines supply chain,' the report concluded.
A DH spokesman said:'We have well-established arrangements for dealing with supply issues, to minimise any potential impact on patients.'