Medicine Supply Information
Information for Patients
There are many reasons why pharmacies are not always able to get certain medicines. Shortages of medicines can happen. For example, manufacturers of medicines can have problems with making the medicine, transporting the medicines or have problems with ingredients for medicines. Sometimes when lots of people are suddenly prescribed a medicine this can use up all the supply. Another example is that there may be pricing concerns about medicines.
Current Drug Shortages
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) produces a monthly update of shortages for primary and secondary care, this can be found on the Specialist Pharmacy Service (SPS) website.
MIMS recently launched an on-line drug shortages tracker, which clinicians can access to find out information on current shortages and recently resolved issues. The tracker also suggests possible alternatives where appropriate. Users will need to register and log in to view, registration is free for GPs and nurses.
The Medicines Optimisation Team are able to access additional resources, so if you are unable to find the required information on the MIMS drugs tracker, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Your local community pharmacist will also be able to provide you with additional information. Our team also work closely with secondary care to provide advice on significant long term out of stock items; please look out for this information in BOB MOT newsletter
If the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) decide there is a serious shortage of a specific medicine or appliance, then a SSP may be issued. Then the pharmacist must use their professional skill and judgement to decide, alongside medical experts, whether it is reasonable and appropriate to substitute the patient's prescribed order for the active SSP. The patient would also have to agree to the alternative supply for that dispensing month. The list of current SSPs can be found on the NHS BSA website here: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/pharmacies-gp-practices-and-appliance-contractors/serious-shortage-protocols-ssps. Please check the NHS BSA website for the most up to date information.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have a list of alerts, recalls and safety information about drugs and medical devices on their website