Eye Drop and Drug Shortages
15 November 2017
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and the UK Ophthalmic Pharmacy Group are aware of shortages of essential eye drops and drugs, often at short notice.
In response to concerns raised by the College, the Department of Health Medicine Supply Team has confirmed that manufacturers have a legal duty to ensure continuity of supply of medicines to U.K. patients, but shortages have occurred for various reasons eg shortages of raw materials/plant failure/imbalance between supply and demand.
Manufacturers are subject to obligations under Department of Health/industry joint guidance:
The guidance recommends companies inform the Department of Health as soon as possible about impending shortages that are likely to impact on patient care and also to consider whether/how best to communicate about a supply problem to the NHS.
The Department of Health has also published guidance on notification of product discontinuation, advising companies to provide advance warning so that the potential impact on patient care may be planned for and appropriately addressed:
RCOphth and UKOPG intend to provide regular bulletins updating our members about known current and potential product shortages/discontinuation. If members become aware of drug shortages not listed please contact the College via Beth.Barnes@rcophth.ac.uk
Details of current eye drop and drugs shortages may be accessed via the new section of the College website.