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Drugs Shortages

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 UK 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:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notification-and-management-of-medicines-shortages-bgma

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: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notification-of-product-discontinuations-pharmaceuticals

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 

RCOphth Quality and Safety Group
UK Ophthalmic Pharmacy Group

Medication Brand Name Manufacturer Reason for shortage  Likely duration of stock shortage Potential alternatives*
Iopidine (Apraclonidine hydrochloride) eye drops 0.5% (5mg/ml)

(updated 4 June 2019)

Novartis Back in Stock Back in Stock Back in stock
Aciclovir Eye Ointment (3%w/w)

(updated 25 March 2019)

 

Zovirax GlaxoSmithKline UK Ltd Discontinuation GSK will cease the manufacture and supply of Zovirax Eye Ointment globally
during 2018 due to repeated challenges in guaranteeing a sustainable product
supply.Stock of Zovirax Eye Ointment is anticipated to continue to be available in the UK until the end of March 2019.See full notification DHCP Zovirax Eye Ointment Discontinuation Letter 13.12.18
There is no other branded or generic aciclovir eye ointment available. Please
refer to the UKMI memo on the discontinuation of Zovirax Eye Ointment for
further information on alternative treatment options.
Betnesol Eye Ointment 0.1% w/w x 3g
(Updated 25 March 2019)
N/A RPH Pharmac-euticals AB (distributed through Focus Pharmac-
euticals)
Discontinuation The product is being phased out and discontinued as of the end of March 2018 RPH Pharmaceuticals will be launching a generic Betamethasone Eye Ointment 0.1% w/w x 3g and are currently expecting stock early 2019
Brinzolamide 10mg/ml eye drops
(Updated 5 December 2018)
Azopt Novartis PI shortage and delay at plant Intermittent shortages over the next few months Numerous generic products remain available
Acetazolamide 250mg MR tablets (Updated 20 December 2018) Diamox SR

Eytazox MR

Advanz

TEVA

Back in stock Back in stock Supplies should now be freely available

 

Liquid paraffin with white soft paraffin wool alcohols(Updated 3 October 2018)
Lacri-lube eye ointment Allergan Manufacturing issues at sole global manufacturing site Out of stock for the remainder of 2018 due to manufacturing issue Xailin Night eye ointment (contains white soft paraffin, white mineral oil and lanolin alcohols)

VitA-POS

Timolol 0.25% and 0.5% unit dose (Updated 20 November 2018) Timoptol Santen Product is being discontinued on 31 March 2018 N/A Numerous preservative free alternatives available including timolol 1mg/g gel and levobunolol 5mg/mL unit does eye drops

Preservative free multi-dose 2.5mg/ml and 5mg/ml timolol eye drops are available as potential alternatives

Nedocromil 2% eye drops
(Added 6 June 2018)
Rapitil Sanofi This product has now been discontinued N/A Numerous mast cell stabilisers remain available including sodium cromoglicate and lodoxamide
Ketorolac trometamol 5mg/ml eye drops (Added 20 December 2018) Acular Allergan No further details March 2019 A generic preparation (manufactured by Brown and Burk) may be available. Other NSAID eye preparations remain unaffected
Prednisolone 1% eye drops (added 20 December 2018) Pred Forte Allergan No further details March 2019 Only the 5ml preparation is affected. Supplies of the 10ml products are freely available
Bimatoprost 0.3mg/ml and timolol 5mg/ml preservative free eye drops (update 14 March 2019) Ganfort Allergan Back in stock Back in stock Pharmacies can now order from wholesalers

*It is recognised that there will be regional variation in appropriate alternatives in accordance with local formularies