Health & NHS
Javid meets pharmacists to discuss HRT shortages
Health secretary Sajid Javid and pharmacy minister Maria Caulfield met yesterday with HRT suppliers and pharmacists to discuss ongoing product shortages.
In a summary of the meeting, the Department of Health and Social Care said HRT suppliers including Aspen Pharmacare and oestrogel manufacturer Besins-Healthcare had “outlined the steps they’re taking to boost supply,” which has been affected by manufacturing and capacity constraints in addition to rising demand.
Meanwhile, community pharmacy representatives told the DHSC how the situation is affecting patients and what they think “needs to be done to improve the current situation for patients,” said the Government.
The meeting follows the recent appointment of vaccines taskforce head Madelaine McTernan as the Government’s new HRT ‘tsar’, as well as the introduction of three serious shortage protocols allowing pharmacists to limit supplies of three products to a maximum of three months.
Mr Javid said: I want to continue to reassure women that I am listening to their concerns. Meeting with key stakeholders and suppliers is one of many steps we are taking to ensure women can access the HRT they need.
“We will leave no stone unturned in our national mission to boost supply of HRT. Along with appointing Madelaine McTernan as head of the HRT supply taskforce to implement lessons learned from the pandemic, and ensuring prescriptions are issued in shorter cycles for now, we are working collectively with the sector to urgently resolve this issue.”
Some pharmacists have questioned the Government’s decision to single out HRT, pointing out that many other products are also being affected by severe shortages.
Manchester pharmacist Saghir Ahmed said he had “never known availability of meds to be so erratic,” highlighting recent data from wholesaler Alliance Healthcare on Twitter.
@sajidjavid look into why there are medicine supply issues elsewhere too, not just HRT. I have never known availability of meds to be so erratic. It’s increasing workload amongst pharmacy teams in sourcing meds and ultimately has a knock effect on patients pic.twitter.com/xVPrximQg0— Saghir Ahmed (@saghir7) May 5, 2022