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Three serious shortage protocols for HRT products issued

SSPs have three-month limit

May 5th 2022

Tagged: Dispensary guidance news Pharmacy owners' news supply shortages

By Charles Gladwin & Ailsa Colquhoun

Three new serious shortage protocols for hormone replacement therapy products have come into immediate effect across the UK, and will run until Thursday 28 July 2022.

The three SSPs are:

  • SSP019 – Oestrogel Pump-Pack 0.06% gel – estradiol 0.06% gel (750microgram per actuation);
  • SSP020 – Ovestin 1mg cream – estriol 0.1% cream;
  • SSP021 – Premique Low Dose 0.3mg/1.5mg modified-release tablets – conjugated oestrogens 300microgram / Medroxyprogesterone 1.5mg modified-release tablet.

These SSPs limit the prescribable amount of these items to three months. SSPs also apply to dispensing GPs, although in a dispensing practice there is scope for the dispensing doctor to review the prescription and amend accordingly, rather than to supply in accordance with the SSP.

The Department of Health has said that women will only pay for prescriptions if they are dispensed in full. “Women who have a prescription for more than three months but are only able to access three months’ supply will not have to pay an additional prescription charge.”

The announcement follows the appointment of Madelaine McTernan as Head of the HRT Supply Taskforce.

Under an SSP, community pharmacists can supply the three specified HRT products according to the protocol rather than the written prescription, without needing to seek authorisation from the prescriber. The SSPs do not authorise pharmacists to dispense alternative products. PSNC has further information with a set of FAQs.