Information for Patients

Sometimes shortages of medicines can happen. There are many reasons why pharmacies and dispensing doctor practices are not always able to get certain medicines. This may include when manufacturers of medicines can have problems with making the medicine, transporting the medicines or there are problems with sourcing the ingredients needed to make the medicines. Sometimes when lots of people are suddenly prescribed a medicine this can use up all the supply. There are a few things you can do to help:

  • Order any medicines you need from your GP practice in good time (but no more than seven days before it is due).
  • Only order medicines that you need. If you have unused medicines in your cupboard, please use these first (remember to check the expiry date) and please do not order extra medicines.
  • If there is a medication shortage with your nominated pharmacy, please ensure you try other pharmacies to fulfil your prescription before asking your GP for an alternative. This is because different pharmacies use a range of wholesalers and distributors.

Current Medication Shortages (information for Health Care Professionals)

Here you'll find the latest information on manufacturing problems impacting the supply of products to community pharmacy and also for links to useful medicine stock information pages.

You can find recent medication shortage information below. 

National Medication Shortages Information are available on SPS website (SPS - Specialist Pharmacy Service – The first stop for professional medicines advice). Healthcare Professional registration and log in is required to view.

Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs)

SSPs enable community pharmacists to supply certain medicines in accordance with a protocol against a prescription, without needing to return the original prescription to the prescriber to get the prescription changed or amended. Please see here for all current authorised SSPs

MIMS on-line drug shortages tracker

MIMS recently launched an on-line drug shortages tracker, which clinicians can access to find out information on current shortages and recently resolved issues. The tracker also suggests possible alternatives where appropriate. Users will need to register and log in to view, registration is free for GPs and nurses.

Price concessions

The list of the latest price concessions granted by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) can be found on the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) website.

Medicine Recalls

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have a list of alerts, recalls and safety information about medicines and medical devices on their website.