Eighty-five percent of you are affected by shortages on a regular basis, according to our latest poll
Due to a shortage of both brands and generics, 76% of poll respondents reported having to contact the initial prescriber to arrange a therapeutic alternative.
Only 47% reported being “usually able” to provide the generic alternative or substitute brands, while 19% had used the Special Access Scheme (SAS) to access products from overseas.
More than half of poll respondents (52%) reported stockpiling medicines to avoid running out.
Meanwhile, 27% said they didn’t stockpile due to costs, with 38% delaying purchasing stock due to reduced government reimbursements and potential financial loss.
Only 8% said they didn’t stockpile for reasons other than costs.
More than half of respondents (54%) found out about out-of-stock medicines from invoice receipts, while more than one quarter (27%) used the TGA websites or alerts.
Fourteen percent found out by other means, while 3% reported not knowing how to find out about out-of-stock medicines at all.
In 2015, the main reported reason for shortage notifications has been due to manufacturing issues, says the TGA.
“The stockpiling of medicines by pharmacies may be one of the factors that add to the problem of shortages as it contributes to inaccuracies in understanding the exact volume of product available in the Australian market, to allow adequate stock management more broadly,” says a TGA spokesperson.
With less than half of respondents using TGA alerts, there seems to be an issue with the organisation’s website, the Medicine Shortages Information Initiative (MSII).
AJP reader Kitty comments: “The TGA Medicines Shortage Information Initiative is a great idea but not very useful in reality. How long has metformin XR been out of stock now? Half a year at least and recently it’s listed there.
“Deptran? Out of stock for a month or a few now? Not a word on the TGA MSII website as of 18/7/16. Many many more cases like that. It seems like the TGA is the last to know when there is a medicines shortage.”