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Pharmacists granted power to limit supply of 3 ‘high demand’ HRT products

Pharmacists will be able to limit the supply of HRT products Oestrogel, Ovestin cream and Premique Low Dose to three months, regardless of the prescription, without needing to seek authorisation from the prescriber.

Health secretary Sajid Javid has today (April 29) issued serious shortage protocols (SSPs) for the three “high demand” hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products “to ensure women are able to access the HRT they need”.

The SSPs – which are due to expire on July 29 – allow community pharmacists to supply the three specified HRT products according to the protocol rather than the written prescription, without needing to seek authorisation from the prescriber, the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) explained.

“This will even out distribution of in-demand for products such as Oestrogels that have recently experienced issues due to rising demand. Pharmacists are expected to use their professional judgement when deciding to apply the SSP and patients must be consulted,” it added.

“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 DH said.

Pharmacy minister and minister for womens' health Maria Caulfield said the government would do "everything in our power" to ensure women can access their HRT medicines.

Meanwhile, head of the government's HRT taskforce Madeline McTernan said the move signaled a "move in the right direction" in tackling HRT supply issues "and ensuring ongoing, reliable accessibility".


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