The Guild is very much aware of the frustration many members are experiencing with long-term shortages of PBS medicines and the concern that these shortages seem to be getting more frequent.
We are particularly aware how the problem is further exacerbated when the base priced products are unavailable and pharmacists bear the brunt of patient dissatisfaction of having no option but to pay for higher priced brands that may be available.
As one means of awareness of medicine shortages, the Guild encourages members to subscribe to the TGA’s Medicine Shortage alert service. While the Guild can notify the TGA and the Department of Health about potential shortages of which we are aware, it is particularly useful for members to advise of such shortages directly so the TGA and Department of Health are aware of the extent of the problem and can initiate early investigation.
Please copy in the Guild at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can monitor the situation and where needed, collaborate with relevant consumer groups for a concerted effort to have the problem addressed. With the ongoing shortage of metformin extended release, the Guild and Diabetes Australia jointly contacted the Health Minister to voice our concerns on behalf of community pharmacists and people with diabetes.
The Guild is continuing to raise the matter of PBS shortages with the Government to facilitate early investigation of reported shortages along with appropriate actions to address the problem until supply is re-established. Early notification by members as described above is most helpful.
And don’t underestimate the power of the consumer voice. If your patients are being disadvantaged by lack of supply or being forced to pay higher prices because of lack of availability of based priced brands, have them email the TGA and Department of Health as well. Motivated patients can also be encouraged to contact their local MP who will then raise the matter directly with the Health Minister.