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HRT drug Gina 10mcg available OTC in all pharmacies by end of month

Pharmacists in the UK can now dispense the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drug Gina 10mcg without a prescription, its manufacturer Novo Nordisk has announced. 

Gina 10mcg is currently available at over 590 Boots branches and on the multiple’s website, and will become available for all UK pharmacies to order from September 20, the manufacturer confirmed to C+D.

It follows the outcome of a Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) consultation in July, which approved the reclassification of the brand of estradiol hemihydrate vaginal tablets from a prescription-only medicine (POM) to a pharmacy-only (P) medicine.

The consultation, which ran from February 2 to February 23 this year, received an “unprecedented” 1,229 responses, showing “overwhelming” support for the POM to P switch and marked the first time the regulator had reclassified an HRT product, according to the MHRA.

Read more: HRT drug Gina 10mcg given green light for POM to P switch

Gina 10mcg is available over-the-counter from today (September 8) to those aged 50 and above “who have not had a period for at least one year, following a consultation or assessment for suitability with a pharmacist”, Novo Nordisk said.

 

Comprehensive pharmacy training programme

 

While a patient's first pack of Gina 10mcg provides seven weeks’ supply, subsequent packs offer 12 weeks’ supply for a recommended retail price of £29.99, the manufacturer confirmed. 

A “comprehensive pharmacy team training programme”, which includes “support materials to assess the suitability of Gina and guidelines for when women should be referred to their GP”, is available to pharmacy teams, they added.

Read more: DH’s HRT taskforce to disband as pharmacists report persistent supply issues

Novo Nordisk’s vice president Sanjay Verghese said the manufacturer is “confident” that Gina “can contribute to the growing movement empowering women to not only manage but to thrive after menopause”.

 

“A landmark moment”

 

Boots has become the first pharmacy in the UK to sell Gina 10mcg without a prescription, the multiple confirmed this morning, adding that it marked “a landmark moment for women’s health”.

Patients who are unable to afford to purchase the medication are still able to access it and other HRT medications through the NHS for the price of the prescription or free to those who do not pay for prescriptions, they added.

Boots pharmacy director Anne Higgins branded the move “another important milestone in women’s health”.

“Boots pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals and from today our pharmacy teams can offer this treatment to patients following a short consultation with no appointment needed,” she added.

Read more: Boots to cover HRT prescription costs for pharmacy team members

While demand for HRT products has surged dramatically over recent months, stock levels have fluctuated.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) issued a slew of serious shortage protocols for HRT products in May to give pharmacy teams “different options” when faced with “significant ongoing disruption” to stock levels.

However, last week the DH announced that its taskforce established earlier this year to help ease the supply of HRT drugs is set to be disbanded, despite reports from pharmacists and menopause campaigners that some products are still difficult to come by.

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