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Pharmacies experiencing shortage in some birth control pills due to ‘supply issues’


(Stock Photo)

(Stock Photo)

(Stock Photo)

Pharmacies are experiencing a shortage in certain birth control pills due to supply issues.

Some chemists are currently out of stock of the combined contraceptive pill Qlaira and are not expected to get more supply until April at the earliest.

Bayer Limited, manufacturer of Qlaira, said there is a “temporary supply interruption” impacting the Irish market and advised patients to consult their treating GPs about alternative medication.

“Bayer apologises for any inconvenience caused by this supply shortage,” the company said in a statement.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has included Qlaira on its medicine shortage list.

The supply issue was first flagged in November, with stock expected to return to the market in quarter two of this year.

Bayer said people will be notified through the HPRA and Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU).

While some pharmacies have limited stock, others have sold out completely.

A spokesperson for Sam McCauley pharmacies said: “Outside of one or two brands, supply chain partners have confirmed that all other brands regularly dispensed are in stock as normal.

“More specifically, the Qlaira brand is on restricted order supply to pharmacies, however pharmacies can access additional stock if needed for customers.”

Dr Denis McCauley of Millbrae Surgery in Co Donegal warned oral contraceptives may become harder to get in the coming months.

“Since Brexit, quite a lot of the supply chains were through Britain and that has added to the issue,” he said.

“The supply of women’s health medicines is precarious as a lot of the medicines are old and don’t have a lot of profit associated with them and some companies start to decrease supply over time.”

There have also been significant issues with the supply of some hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications in recent weeks.

HRT is used to treat symptoms of the menopause and there has been a major shortage in supply of Evorel and Estradot hormone patches since Christmas.

Novartis, producer of Estradot, said: "With regard to 100mcg [size], there has been an increase in demand, driven by the increased awareness of HRT and the menopause during 2021."

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