Patients 'needlessly suffering' due to shortages of HRT in the UK
PATIENTS have been "needlessly suffering" due to shortages of hormone replacement therapy in the UK, it has been claimed.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said HRT shortages have gone on "far too long" as a result of recent manufacturing and supply issues.
Dr Farah Jameel from the BMA said: "Drug supply issues are common, and while clinicians can prescribe alternative medication, amending a patient's prescription takes time and this can significantly add to our already heavy workload - particularly if the issue is ongoing.
"More importantly, prescribing alternative interim medication might not always help to fully relieve a patient's symptoms, further delaying their treatment and causing avoidable, unnecessary distress to the patient.
"HRT supply issues have been going on far too long, so it's encouraging that the government is finally taking steps to resolve it by limiting HRT exports from the UK.
"The menopause can be a very difficult time for many women, so it's essential that they have access to the medication they need, when they need it."
Dr Jameel added: "It's vital that patients are protected from medicine shortages as much as possible, particularly as we head into the winter months – when pressure on NHS services is most intense - and uncertainty grows around the fallout of a potential no-deal Brexit.
"The crux of the issue, however, is ensuring that problems concerning the manufacturing and supply of medicines are promptly addressed, so that serious shortage protocols are only used as an absolute last resort and patients can continue to access the recommended forms of medication regardless of where they live."