Novartis’ Pharmacy Quotas Result in HRT ShortageConsumer
HRT is used with the intention of steadying the turbulence of the menopause by replacing the hormones that are lost. The significance of this is evident when you consider that in 2021, suicide rates were greatest among women in England and Wales from 50 to 55 years old, the peak menopausal years.
Given the twofold increase in HRT prescriptions over the last five years, the supply crunch is evidently a major issue.
“Given the twofold increase in HRT prescriptions over the last five years, the supply crunch is evidently a major issue“
A list of HRT medications that are seldom available is maintained by the British Menopause Society, however, has not yet included Estradot, a popular option for treating menopause related problems. The medicine’s producer, Novartis, and Alliance Healthcare, one of the largest distributors, both said there were no supply concerns and that it was not beneficial to them to restrict the products availability.
There are many HRT medications on the most recent government list of significant shortage protocols (SSPs), however Estradot is not one of them.
Women have spent hours calling pharmacies and invested increasing sums purchasing them privately in an effort to get them.
It has only now been confirmed by a wholesaler that Novartis had set up pharmacy quotas. Furthermore, for some these quotas only cover four packs of 100mcg patches each month- in some cases sufficient for just one prescription.
In a public declaration, Novartis said that they “aim to ensure a fair and equitable access to our medicines, both in the public and private market.” A spokesperson added: “Novartis has increased production capacity to deal with a nine-fold increase over six years for transdermal patches.”
A representative from the Department of Health also commented: “We have put women’s health at the top of the agenda by publishing a women’s health strategy for England, appointing the first ever women’s health ambassador, and taking action to increase supply and reduce the cost of hormone replacement therapy.”
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