For the last couple of years drug shortages have become an issue in the UK and worldwide.
Now, with Brexit approaching this phantom is becoming even more a reality. Even HRT the Hormone Replacement Therapy mostly used to help women to cope with menopausal symptoms, are becoming an issue. There is more than one type of HRT that is not available right now. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has maintained that a medicine shortage is caused by a variety of factors, such as manufacturing problems, increasing global demand, exchange rate and of course, Brexit. Since we know that HRT is fundamental for many menopausal women, we have found a list from the department of Health and Social Care of HRT products already out of stock. These are:
Theramex, the supplier of FemSeven Conti and Sequi patches are experiencing a long term supply issue affecting both products and expect to be out of stock until late 2019.
This supply issue does not affect supplies of FemSeven Mono. Supplies of other HRT patches and products continue to remain available.
Mylan, the sole manufacturer of the Elleste HRT product line has reported that some of the Elleste range (Elleste Solo 1mg, 2mg; Elleste Duet Conti; Elleste Duet 1mg) are currently unavailable due to manufacturing issues. The resupply date for Ellesterange is expected to be the end of April 2019.
Those two are definitely not available but they will become available again soon. Many people suggest stockpiling drugs for the future. For HRT (and many other drugs) it is usually not possible to get a prescription from the GP for more than a month, so some women are starting to go private. Women worrying about shortages said they are aiming to have more or less 7/10 months supply taking into account that HRT doses may vary over time.
One of the biggest concerns is that if shortages happen more frequently, even the replacement of your current HRT from another brand may not be the best a solution; many women claim to have had different/more side effects when changing their brand of HRT treatment. Of course, it is understandable that women would like to continue using the same drug: many women going through the menopause choose HRT treatments because they have had terrible symptoms at the beginning of their menopause, therefore they need HRT and they need a continuum with their therapy.
The same issue happened last year in Australia, and women weren’t really happy. They felt that the government didn’t respond proactively on this issue just because it was a female issue. Many of them had problems in finding a suitable candidate for a replacement of their personal therapy.
Overall, drug shortages are a very big issue that we hope that the government will treat very seriously. In the meantime, it seems that stockpiling is the best option.
Author Ornella Cappellari