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Alendronic acid out of stock until late August

Alendronic acid

Alendronic acid 70mg tablets, which are used to treat and prevent osteoporosis, are out of stock until late August, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.

Risedronate sodium 35mg tablets (weekly) and ibandronic acid 150mg tablets (monthly) remain available. Where these are not suitable, unlicensed supplies of alendronic acid 70mg tablets may be sourced, the DHSC said.

However, prescribers cannot issue an Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) prescription for unlicensed alendronic acid tablets if the imported product is not listed on the dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d).

PSNC said that Smartway Pharmaceuticals Limited and Target Healthcare had confirmed they could source unlicensed alendronic acid 70mg tablets.

Where a prescriber wishes to prescribe an unlicensed import, an FP10 form for free prescriptions should be issued as ‘Alendronic acid 70mg tablets (Special Order)’.

This can be endorsed by the pharmacy as a non-Part VIIIB special, which is for imported products not listed in Part VIIIB of the Drug Tariff, with the following information:

  • Amount dispensed over pack size used;
  • Invoice price per pack size from which the order was supplied less any discount or rebate;
  • Manufacturers’/importers’ MHRA licence number;
  • Batch number of the product supplied;
  • SP (to claim additional fees for dispensing unlicensed medicines).

The news comes amid a wider drug shortage problem in the UK. In May, Boots reported that hay fever medication supplies were running low because of a shortage of an active ingredient found in many allergy drugs.

Recently, this prompted a notice informing prescribers that promethazine hydrochloride 25mg tablets, a commonly used antihistamine, is out of stock until mid-August.

Two-thirds of pharmacists reported facing supply issues every day, according to research by PSNC earlier this year. The survey found 67% of pharmacies were having to deal with medicine supply issues every day, 21% multiple times per week and 9% weekly.

As a result, teams were spending an average of 5.3 hours per week trying to resolve these issues, leading to extra workload and stress for pharmacy teams and frustrated and inconvenienced patients.

Meanwhile, 51% of pharmacy team members said that patients were negatively affected by supply chain issues daily, and 75% reported experiencing aggression from patients due to medicine supply issues.

Pharmacies are currently having to manage 17 serious shortage protocols for various medicines including antidepressants, HRT and paracetamol.

Under the protocol, pharmacists can supply an alternative medicine to the one prescribed.

A version of this article was first published by Pulse’s sister title The Pharmacist

READERS' COMMENTS [1]

Dave Haddock 26 July, 2022 5:26 pm

Good news, a temporary reprieve for numerous LOLs being poisoned as per protocol.