Pharmacists will be given more freedom to choose alternatives HRT products if the original recipe is not available.

The government’s HRT supply task force, which was set up to tackle widespread deficits, has agreed to further Serious Deficit Protocols (SSPs) to give pharmacists more control – which they require.

This will mean that women can be offered another product at the pharmacy to alleviate their symptoms if their regular HRT is not available.

We are working to make HRT available to everyone who needs it

Health Minister Sajid Javid

In late April government released three SSPs to limit the issuance of Oestrogel, Ovestin and Premique Low Dose to three months to help relieve pressure in the system.

Two new additional SSPs are for Lenzetto transdermal spray and Sandrena gel, which will also be available in three-month supply.

According to the rules, all of these items can usually be replaced with a transdermal patch.

Thousands of menopausal women are struggling to get their hands on key drugs, leading to online sharing and drugs offered on the black market.

In a new announcement, the government said there had recently been additional supplies of popular products Oestrogel, Ovestin and Premique Low Dose. Premique is now well available, while manufacturers Oestrogel and Ovestin are working to increase supplies in the UK.

Secretary of Health and Welfare Sajid Javid said: “We are working to make HRT accessible to all who need it, and I am pleased to see that suppliers continue to increase the supply of some products, which is evidence of a collaborative approach.

The situation is very difficult and some products will soon return to normal availability

Professor Claire Anderson

“Meetings with suppliers are ongoing and we are taking decisive action to address HRT supply problems and reduce any delays – this includes issuing additional SSPs so that women can receive the necessary medication.”

Pharmacists have also been empowered to share medications where needed.

Professor Claire Anderson, President Royal Pharmaceutical Societysaid: “We welcome the news that more SSP has been introduced for hormone replacement therapy products.

“This short-term measure will help women gain access to stocks of HRT drugs that are difficult to obtain.

“This is a very volatile situation and some products will soon return to normal availability.

“However, the bureaucracy involved in completing the SSP process for each individual patient is quite a burden for pharmacists, and we hope that the shortage of HRT products will be resolved as soon as possible under the leadership of the new king of HRT.

It is important to focus on measures to ensure that we can make the most efficient use of stocks, and to ensure increased supplies

Madeleine McTernan

“Ultimately, we would like to see changes in the legislation that will facilitate and speed up the whole process for both pharmacists and patients.

“Advice on which HRT drug to replace with others has been developed by experts, and women can be confident that they will get what suits them.

“Women should talk to their pharmacist if they have any concerns about their HRT drugs.”

HRT Supply Working Group Chair Madeleine McTernan said: “I am very encouraged by the constructive engagement in the sector and the enthusiasm with which suppliers and pharmacists are committed to working with us to meet this challenge.

“It is critical to focus on measures to ensure that we can make the most efficient use of stocks, as well as ensure increased supplies.”

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