BMS produces update on HRT shortages

Evorel and Elleste products are among the worst affected by ongoing national HRT shortages according to an update from the British Menopause Society.

With many pharmacies experiencing difficulties sourcing some of the most commonly prescribed HRT products, the BMS put together the availability update to help clinicians and patients.

BMS chair Haitham Hamoda said “many HRT products” were in short supply, explaining that “some of these are related to manufacturing shortages while others are due to supply issues”.

Mr Hamoda said the BMS had “been reassured that these are temporary shortages which pharmaceutical companies and their suppliers are trying to resolve”.

“Unusual increase in demand” for Evorel

Projected availability of Evorel (Janssen/BMS)

Janssen told the BMS that availability of the Evorel range had “been impacted following an unusual increase in demand over recent months” due to alternative products being out of stock.

The company has produced a list of dates for when Evorel patches are likely to be back in stock, though the BMS noted these “may continue to fluctuate in the coming months with ongoing changes in demand”.

Several of Mylan’s HRT products are also in short supply. The company told the BMS that its Elleste Solo MX products were “likely to be available later this month,” but has not yet said when others are expected to be back in stock.

Meanwhile, three out of four of Norgine’s Estraderm MX products are available, though Estraderm MX 50 packs of 8 patches are in short supply.

Novartis, Besins Healthcare and Novo Nordisk told the BMS there were no shortages of supplies in their HRT products.

All strengths of FemSeven Conti and Sequi have been out of supply since the end of 2018 and are not expected to be back in supply until next year.

The BMS is advising prescribers to source "equivalent preparations” to medicines affected by shortages, and in some cases to consider prescribing oestrogen and progestogen separately.

“Spectacularly difficult”

Royal College of GPs Helen Stokes-Lampard recently told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that the reasons for the shortages was unclear: “Because it’s commercially sensitive… nobody will be honest with the public and the NHS.”

“Occasionally over the years we’ve had shortages of drugs and we have to deal with that, but the last six months in particular have been spectacularly difficult for HRT,” professor Stokes-Lampard said.
 
Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care said it was aware of “ongoing supply issues” and that it was working with suppliers to “maintain the overall flow of medicines to patients”.

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