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Candesartan, naproxen and Elleste on list of 177 medicine shortages

NPA: Teva expects its 28-pack of candesartan 4mg tablets to be available before July
NPA: Teva expects its 28-pack of candesartan 4mg tablets to be available before July

Candesartan, naproxen and Elleste feature on the National Pharmacy Association's (NPA) latest list of medicines experiencing supply issues.

The NPA’s latest ‘medicines availability list’ – published for its members yesterday (April 24) and seen by C+D – features 177 medicines that members have flagged they are having trouble sourcing, and that the NPA has verified with manufacturers as experiencing supply issues.

The NPA has been compiling and sharing the list with members for approximately a year. It has agreed C+D can publish sections of the latest instalment (see below), but not the list in full, as it is reserved as a member-only resource.

Some medicines on the list are not expected to reenter the supply chain this year, according to the NPA.

Bayer’s 28-tablet packs of Adalat LA, in 20mg, 30mg and 60mg strengths, all have expected availability dates of 2021, while 30-tablet packs of buspirone from Mylan, in both 5mg and 10mg strengths, are not expected until January 6, 2020. The same manufacturer expects its valsartan 40mg, 80mg and 160mg capsules and 40mg and 320mg tablets to be available again this August.

It is not known when hormone replacement therapy medicines Elleste Solo, Elleste Duet, Cyclo-Progynova, FemSeven Conti and FemSeven Sequi will be available from manufacturers Meda Pharmaceuticals and Theramex, according to the NPA.

“Limited” naproxen supplies

Naproxen 250mg, 500mg, and both gastro-resistant strengths feature on the list, with manufacturers Teva, Actavis and Accord reporting “limited” or “unknown” availability in several cases. 

According to the NPA’s list, manufacturer Mylan expects its pack of 28 candesartan 4mg and 8mg tablets to be available in September, while Teva expects its 28-pack of candesartan 4mg tablets to be available at some point before July 2019.

Patients' right to know

The NPA told C+D it is currently trialling a new process of updating its medicines shortage list more frequently, to reflect the “fluidity of the medicines supply situation”.

NPA director of pharmacy Leyla Hannbeck said: “We now report to members at least weekly about shortages.

“Publishing this list of medicines availability doesn’t solve the problem of shortages, but it takes away one bit of hassle for our members, who face day-to-day frustrations sourcing medicines,” she added.

“It helps pharmacists to give patients some idea of when to expect their medicines, which is surely the least they have a right to expect.”

What medicines are you experiencing shortages of?

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

when I was 12 i created a list of the best skateboarding locations around my town and my friend Richie Mags shared it with everyone and then there were loads of older boys at my favourite spots and i had to go home because i was scared so i know where the npa is coming from with its list.

V K P, Community pharmacist

You are more then welcome to contact all the manufacturers for the information, Tabulate it and then provide it to the PSNC and LPCs for them to distribute to all the pharmacies in the country and elsewhere as you may wish. 

Infact to make it easy for you, the list of manufacturers is available in the C&D. Oops. that not free for you neither.

Please use the EMC online resource to shift through all the drugs and the manufacturers that you intend to contact.

looking forward to you free list.


hurry time is ticking away.

John Atkins, Pharmacy Buyer

Oh come on. It is precisely this attitude and ignorance that allows companies to sell ice to eskimos. Thank goodness the rest of us know where to find information. 


, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The whole point of all of these bodies holding information and having the option to work with eachother is so that what you're suggesting shouldn't have to be an option. Our profession is not alone in being impacted by shortages, and collaboration has always been the key.

So much money has been spent over the fall out of shortages that the price of this "free list" has been paid several times over. Frankly the cost to CCGs in terms of alternatives/appointments, the cost to pharmacists in terms of time, expensive memberships and NCSO leaving them out of pocket and the untold costs to patients in terms of their health and wellbeing, worry about their medicines and illnesses and how it might impact their lives makes this information not just worth it, but our right.

Shortages are nothing new, time has always been ticking. The question is at what point does money stop being an excuse?

, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Something as consequential as medicines shortages should be taken much more seriously than a blatant 'excerpt' advertising opportunity. I highly doubt the patient suffering from uncontrolled symptoms will care to understand that information THEY have a right to is membership controlled. 

Thankfully as a profession, pharmacists are in a position to obtain any information they require for free. In this age of information and connectedness we all know how to call customer services of a manufacturer...

Perhaps now is the time for this awful monopoly on information to end. In its place the PSNC, MHRA, manufacturers, LPC's, APPG and NHS could collaborate to make this information available? and mandatory? Now THAT would be supporting the patients right to know.


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