Pharmacists call on change in law to ease HRT shortage
A leading pharmacist has said that a change in the law could help with the shortage in medication to ease menopause symptoms.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) eases symptoms such as low mood, anxiety and hot flushes, but demand is currently outstripping supply.
Dr Geraldine McCaffrey, a member of the Welsh National Board of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, has said that a law change could allow pharmacists to manage shortages more smoothly.
Dr McCaffrey said “It could reduce anxiety and stress on patients” and added that a legal change “would also reduce the burden on the NHS of managing those shortages, both from the community pharmacy end and also for general practitioners.”
Currently, pharmacists have to refer back to prescribers, such as GPs, for even very small changes in doses, such as offering two packs of 1mg tablets rather than one pack of 2mg tablets.
Dr McCaffrey went on to say “This huge amount of time that is being spent .. sorting out medicine shortages, that is time that could be spent by pharmacists and GPs working with their patients.”
A number of manufacturers have struggled to source the ingredients needed to make certain HRT medicines and demand is currently outstripping supply for some products – for example, there are temporary issues with the hormone gel Oestrogel.
However, Dr McCaffrey stressed that there were alternatives available and could be prescribed in the meantime.
“What we want is for women to obtain their HRT medicines via an NHS prescriber and a registered pharmacy so we can be sure that they are getting safe, quality medicines that will work as they expect.”
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