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Medicines shortages

Stock levels sufficient for at least two adrenaline auto-injectors per prescription

Patients presenting with a prescription can now be given at least two adrenaline 150 microgram auto-injectors that are either in date or have a formally extended expiry date, according to a revised interim protocol issued by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The revised protocol, issued by the DHSC on 5 November 2018, says that while stock levels are now sufficient, supplies may be constrained until the end of 2018 owing to a backlog of patients requiring prescriptions. The existing dispenser and wholesaler prescription validation processes will continue for all adrenaline 150 microgram auto-injector prescriptions.

Pharmacies are being advised to read the DHSC protocol, which also includes a revised flowchart of questions to ask patients aiming to ascertain those who are in most need of supply, and implement the protocol with immediate effect.

The shortage of EpiPens was first highlighted in May 2018 when the UK supplier Mylan identified shortcomings owing to manufacturing problems. Jext and Emerade 0.15mg adrenaline auto-injectors have now also been rapidly depleted as a knock-on effect of supply problems. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205708

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