The Department of Health and Social Care has implemented restrictions on the export of a range of medicines and devices, including HRT products, following ongoing supply shortages.
The restrictions apply to ‘parallel exporting’, which diverts stock destined for the UK market to other countries. A total of 19 HRT drugs, some of which have been affected by manufacturing problems, will be subject to the restrictions in the UK. Similar measures are in place in other European countries, including France and Spain.
In addition, export restrictions have been placed on five medicines, including all adrenaline auto-injectors and hepatitis B vaccines.
Companies that parallel export a restricted medicine may face action from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The Government has also introduced serious shortage protocols for the antidepressant fluoxetine. This means pharmacists can supply an alternative strength or pharmaceutical form of fluoxetine when patients have a prescription for the 10mg, 30mg and 40mg capsules, which are currently in shortage. The serious shortage protocol will remain in force during the current manufacturing difficulties.
To explain the factors that can impact medicine availability, the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA) has published an infographic. This also identifies actions that can mitigate supply chain disruption. HDA chief executive Jeremy Main will also be speaking to the DDA annual conference on Wednesday 9 October at 11.30am. Visit the DDA’s conference web page to view the conference programme and to register for your free place.