Metformin supply crisis worsens


Availability of all extended release products now limited: TGA

The crisis over low supply of metformin has worsened, with all extended release products now being classified as having limited availability.

On 17 June the TGA advised that two out of eight Metformin extended release products still had regular availability:

  • DIABEX XR 1000 metformin hydrochloride 1000 mg extended release tablet blister pack and,
  • DIAFORMIN XR 1000 metformin hydrochloride 1000 mg extended release tablet blister pack.

However this has now been changed, with the latest advice warning these products too now were classified as ‘limited availability’.

The TGA is advising health professionals to direct enquiries regarding supply of metformin extended release tablets to the product sponsor.

“Pharmacists and wholesalers are requested to order minimum quantities of stock from suppliers to try and minimise the chance of further shortages as supplies become available,” the TGA advice states.

The shortages are due to some suppliers having limited or no stock, resulting in unexpected increased demand on other suppliers which they are not able to fully meet at this time. Suppliers are working closely with their manufacturers to expedite delivery of stock.

Click here to see the TGA advice 

Comment is being sought from the Department of Health.

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Metformin shortage

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3 Comments

  1. BJ
    01/09/2016

    I’ve heard various excuses: that the manufacturers say there is no shortage, (just that wholesalers are not ordering) to they have to come by boat as it is not economic to send by air. At the end of the day it appears to boil down to one thing: money.

  2. Bob Kelso
    02/09/2016

    Is someone at the TGA paid for these ‘No …. sherlock’ advisories? I do love a government dept that can advise you what’s wrong weeks after the fact but not offer any fix to the issue. Keep up the good work.

  3. Mick
    03/09/2016

    It obviously costs more to make an ‘XR’ tablet than the PBS (ie govt) will pay – so the manufacturers don’t want to bother. (in Australia, anyway) Well done, Aussie govt – especially channelling the savings towards paying $20 000 per month per patient for the new anti-Hep-C drugs. (when some countries pay $1240 per month per patient for the same tablets) Same old, same old.

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