HRT shortage: ‘Confident’ government supplies will soon be ‘on track’ | Political news

The government is ‘confident’ supplies of HRT drugs will be ‘back on track’ soon after shortages left some women feeling suicidal.

Maria Caulfield, Minister for Patient Safety, said the main hormone replacement therapy (HRT) product facing a shortage is Oestrogel.

Hormone therapy helps combat symptoms of menopause, including anxiety, joint pain, trouble sleeping, and hot flashes.

Ms Caulfield said the government had spoken to suppliers after demand “really skyrocketed in recent months”, leading to shortages for “a small number of products”.

Manufacturers are now increasing their supplies and have told the government that the supply of estrogel should return to normal “around June”, she added.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced on Sunday that he would be appoint an HRT Tsar contribute to improving the offer in the short and long term.

Recent figures suggest the number of HRT prescriptions in the UK has doubled in the last five years, but stocks are low.

Women would now share their prescriptions, some would have been driven suicidal by the debilitating menopausal symptoms they suffer without the drug.

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HRT comes in different forms including gel, tablets, creams and sprays

Ms. Caulfield added that she has held meetings with trade associations that deal with HRT suppliers.

“They are confident that they will bring supplies back to the levels of demand that we need, but we don’t want to overlook anything, so we are bringing in an HRT supply advance, so if there is anything the government can do to help suppliers, we are able to do that,” she said.

She added that although demand for HRT has increased recently, the COVID pandemic has made some ingredients difficult to find and there have been challenges around the world, not just in the UK.

But, she said, “We are confident we can get supplies back on track.”

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Shortage of HRT drugs

Ms Caulfield said the government was considering restricting the number of prescriptions that could be issued but that was ‘not high on our priority list’ and they wanted women to feel confident in contacting the GPs about HRT.

“It’s so important to get this sorted out for women going through menopause and that’s why it’s a priority for us,” she added.

She said that by next April, women will be able to pay £18.70 for an entire year’s supply.

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His colleague, former Tory minister Caroline Nokes, told parliament last week that access to estrogen gel ‘allows us to sleep and work competently’.

Labor MP Carolyn Harris, co-chair of the UK Menopause Task Force, hailed the new HRT czar but said the price change came too late and ‘women deserve better’.

The British Menopause Society said on Monday that women who cannot get Oestrogel should consider “equivalent alternative preparations of HRT”, including 0.5mg or 1mg Sandrena gel or Lenzetto spray preparations.

He said GPs should consider using equivalent drugs or prescribing estrogens and progestins separately “to establish the closest match or to find a suitable alternative”.

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