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'Significant ongoing’ supply issues prompt new fluoxetine 40mg SSP

Fluoxetine capsules were the subject of the very first SSP issued in October 2019
Fluoxetine capsules were the subject of the very first SSP issued in October 2019

The Department of Health and Social Care has issued a new serious shortage protocol (SSP) for fluoxetine 40mg capsules, following “significant ongoing disruption” in supply.

The new SSP was introduced on Friday (January 29) and allows pharmacists to supply an alternative of two fluoxetine 20mg capsules for every fluoxetine 40mg capsule they need to replace.

This latest SSP expires on March 31, but can be amended or revoked at any time, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) stressed.

Fluoxetine capsules were the subject of the very first SSP issued in October 2019, granting pharmacists the ability to dispense an alternative to a medicine suffering a shortage, rather than the prescription and without contacting a GP.

Several SSPs have been granted for all strengths of the antidepressant since then, the latest for 40mg capsules expired in October.

Announcing the new SSP on Friday, PSNC it had been issued “in response to significant ongoing disruption to the supply”, and recommended pharmacy teams read its briefing document regarding the protocol.

Under the SSP, contractors will be reimbursed the drug tariff part VIIIA price for the fluoxetine 20mg capsules dispensed, “or any concessionary price granted, where applicable”, the negotiator explained.

The reimbursement price will account for VAT payment and supply in accordance with the SSP will result in the contractors being paid one “single activity fee”, currently at £1.27, and “one SSP fee”, currently at £5.35, PSNC said.

Read each of the protocols in full and the accompanying operational guidance on the NHS Business Services Authority's website.

 

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