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Medicines shortages

Government withdraws final serious shortage protocol for fluoxetine

All serious shortage protocols (SSPs) for fluoxetine have now expired, meaning pharmacists will have to return to dispensing prescriptions for the medicine as they are written by the prescriber.

SSPs for fluoxetine 10mg, 30mg and 40mg capsules were issued on 3 October 2019 in response to shortages of the antidepressant following manufacturing issues.

The SSPs allowed pharmacists to supply alternative strengths or pharmaceutical forms of fluoxetine.

Legislation came into force on 1 July 2019, enabling pharmacists to dispense against an SSP instead of a prescription without going back to the prescriber first, in an effort to manage medicines shortages.

A separate protocol was issued for each strength, with the SSPs for fluoxetine 10mg and 40mg expiring on 31 October 2019, when the capsules returned to stock.

The last of the three SSPs expired on 18 December 2019, when there was sufficient stock of fluoxetine 30mg capsules.

Following the expiry of the SSPs, prescriptions for fluoxetine capsules must be dispensed in accordance with the prescription, as the SSP will no longer be valid for use.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207498

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