We are aware of the national supply shortage of HRT currently in the UK, your pharmacist is able to issue you with a suitable alternative in the first instance from stock, they will also advise of stock locally available in other pharmacies and should not ask you to return to the practice.

On 29 April 2022, the UK government issued a serious shortage protocol (SSP) to limit the dispensing of 3 HRT products to 3 months' supply.

Women who have a prescription for more than 3 months but are only able to access 3 months’ supply will not have to pay an additional prescription charge. This means women will not incur any additional costs. Any woman who is worried about access to HRT or is unable to access HRT should speak to her GP.

The SSP applies to the following products:

  • Oestrogel pump-pack 750mcg/actuation gel
  • Ovestin 1mg cream
  • Premique low dose 0.3mg/1.5mg modified release tablets

On 21 May 2022, the UK government issued further SSPs to allow pharmacists to safely offer women substitute high-demand products with appropriate alternatives, such as transdermal patches, which are in good supply.

SSPs restricting prescriptions to a maximum of 3 months’ supply will also be issued for substitute products, as a precautionary measure to ensure the supply of those substitutes is maintained.

The SSPs, which are set to expire on Friday 29 July 2022, allow community pharmacists to supply the 3 specified HRT products according to the protocol rather than the written prescription, without needing to seek authorisation from the prescriber.

Pharmacists are expected to use their professional judgement when deciding to apply the SSP and patients must be consulted.

For further detail please read the government press releases:

  1. "Three-month limit for 3 HRT products to ensure continued access" - 29 April 2022
  2. "Further action taken to improve supply of HRT" - 21 May 2022