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DH extends HRT SSPs and issues new protocol for paracetamol

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) has extended two SSPs for Estradot HRT patches, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has announced.

The DH originally issued the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) SSPs on January 25 in response to “significant ongoing disruption” to the supply of Estradot® 50mcg and 100mcg patches.

Both SSPs were due to expire today (February 17).

Read more: ‘Significant ongoing disruption’: DH issues two new SSPs for HRT

But the DH yesterday extended the expiry date of both of these SSPs – until February 24 for the 50mcg patches and March 17 for the 100mcg patches – a PSNC alert said.

Under the SSPs:

  • One Evorel 50mcg patch must be supplied for every Estradot 50mcg patch originally prescribed (SSP048)
  • One Evorel 100mcg patch must be supplied for every Estradot 100mcg patch originally prescribed (SSP049)


Paracetamol shortage


Yesterday also saw the DH issue a medicine supply notification for paracetamol 120mg suppositories, which PSNC said are “out of stock” until the week commencing May 8.

Paracetamol 125mg suppositories, however, “remain available and can support a full uplift in demand”, it added.

This was swiftly followed by a new SSP for the paracetamol 120mg suppositories (SSP050), PSNC also announced yesterday.

Under the new paracetamol SSP, effective from yesterday and due to expire on May 5, one paracetamol 125mg suppository must be supplied for every paracetamol 120mg suppository originally prescribed.


Ongoing medicine supply issues


These additions and extensions add to a growing list of SSPs and medicine shortage notifications.

Earlier this month, the DH issued a medicine supply notification for three kinds of estradiol Estradot patches – with the 25microgram/24hours patches and 100microgram/24hours patches both “out of stock” until this week.

The 50microgram/24hours patches are also “out of stock” until next week.

The DH also extended three SSPs for HRT drug Sandrena 0.5mg and 1mg gel sachets until February 28, although two SSPs for HRT Estraderm MX 100mcg and 75mcg patches expired at the same time.

Read more: HRT patches ‘out of stock’ as DH issues six medicine shortage notifications

This comes alongside further medicine shortage notifications issued this month, including treatments for depression, inflammatory bowel disease and skin lesions, as well as the extension of all eight Phenoxymethylpenicillin V (Pen V) SSPs until February 28.

Health minister Will Quince has said that the government intends “to work ever closer” with wholesalers to “increase the resilience” of the UK’s medicines supply chain.

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