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Dealing with medicine shortages in community pharmacy

Pharmacy guide

You have a prescription, but no stock in the pharmacy. You try to order and the ordering system says 'Out of stock' or 'Manufacturer cannot supply'.

Sounds familiar?

We understand that dealing with medicine shortages can be difficult, time-consuming and frustrating for everyone involved. So, here’s a guide to help you and your team deal with medicine shortages.

First Published: 10 March 2020
Updated: 5 May 2022

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Principles

We think the way pharmacy teams help to manage medicines shortages should meet these principles:

  1. Everyone who needs medicines during shortages to be supported by the pharmacy team to find the best solution for them, whether this means sourcing the medicines from other places or agreeing alternatives with the person and prescriber
  2. Good communication between the pharmacy team and the person needing medicines, which is compassionate, empathetic and respectful of confidentiality
  3. Good communication between the pharmacy team and other healthcare professionals, which is collaborative and professional.

These principles and this guide can be used together. Alongside existing national guidelines and local standard operating procedures (SOPs).