How we aim to support prescribers in managing supply disruptions:

The Medicines Optimisation Team will ensure we provide healthcare professionals with access to the latest supply disruption information to reduce clinician time spent on addressing supply issues and improving patient care by minimising the delay to patients.


The DHSC is responsible for the continuity of supply of medicines and manufacturers have a legal requirement to inform DHSC of any supply problems.

A monthly update is provided by DHSC listing new, ongoing and resolved supply issues and discontinued products.

The Specialist Pharmacy Service (SPS) may also be asked to issue memos to provide additional clinical information regarding appropriate alternatives.

Further information may be issued by a Medicine Supply Notification (MSN) to providers.

We are also aware that prescribers may also be asked for an alternative by pharmacies if there is a local supply issue.  This will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) have also recently been introduced to enable community pharmacies to dispense agreed alternatives without requesting a prescription amendment.

How to access information:

SPS website: Requires simple registration process and then information can be found under Medicines/Supply Memos/Medicine Supply and Shortages Update from DHSC

Mims Shortage Tracker: Requires registration and currently free access to all healthcare professionals until 1st September 2020

Teamnet: This is under development.  A section will be created where all the above documents will be available for reference in one place

Current SSPs:

Further Comments:

The BSW Formulary Team will support drug shortages by including SPS links under individual drug entries and reviewing them to ensure the formulary does not unnecessarily restrict prescribing alternatives.

OptimiseRx also create messages if there are known supply issues with the prescribed medication at the point of prescribing to alert the prescriber to consider an alternative. If local specialist teams have produced advice regarding specific shortages, we will include information below and within the relevant entry of the BSW formulary.

Advice on entacapone supply disruption

Contact for support with specific shortages or feedback.