As you will likely be aware, there is a national shortage of various hormone replacement therapy (HRT) formulations, which are used to treat menopausal symptoms. We understand that this is extremely frustrating as HRT can provide enormous relief of these symptoms. The government have released a press release about the situation here:
At a practice-level we are receiving a large number of requests for alternative brands of products due to the shortages, however unfortunately we do not have live access to what brands local pharmacies can obtain. As such, there have been occasions where we have sent an alternative, only for that to be out of stock too. This leads to frustration for all parties.
In view of this, we are writing to all our patients taking HRT to advise the following:
- As per government advice, routine prescriptions will be limited to a maximum of 3 months supply to ensure that stock is shared fairly
- The government have made some changes to prescription fees, and you should only be charged for a prescription if it is able to be reimbursed in full (further detail in the press release)
- Try to give a little bit more time to order your medication. However, please do not stockpile medication, as this is unfair on other women who rely on the product.
- We would ask all our patients that, in the event of a shortage, you ask the community pharmacist what possible alternatives are available first line. Community pharmacists are experts in medicines and undergo 5 years of training before qualification.
- Be aware that different pharmacies use different wholesalers. It is worth trying a few pharmacies – trying a combination of large ‘chain’ pharmacies and independent companies.
- In the event that you need an alternative, please put your prescription request in the normal way but add a custom note with the community pharmacist’s recommendation. If this is a different community pharmacy to where you normally go, please specify this on the note. A clinician will then review your request against your medical records to double check that the recommendation is appropriate, considering your full medical history.
- If you are having trouble finding an alternative despite these efforts, then please book an appointment with myself or your GP and we can discuss various options. Please let the admin team know when you book the appointment how many days of treatment you have left so we can prioritise your appointment accordingly.