Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, doctors, hospital administrators and pharmacists alike were kept awake at night worrying about shortages of essential medications. According to University of Canberra, medication shortages rose 300% in Australia between 2019 and 2020.
Medication shortages have been an on-going theme in the global health sector for many years however as the world plunged into unknown territory at the beginning of the pandemic, average citizens, as well as some businesses and governments, began stockpiling medicines. In a time of great uncertainty this stockpiling is understandable, and even expected, however the practice exacerbated an already tenuous situation for the world pharmaceutical supply lines.
Medications to treat asthma, depression, and anxiety, along with children’s paracetamol, contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies experienced the greatest demand as people stocked-up for what many thought might be a protracted and severe lock-down.
Inability to keep up with extreme demand overtook manufacturing issues as the number one cause of medicine shortages throughout 2020 and 2021.
Limits on sales of certain medication and pharmacy dispensing, mandated by the Department of Health, mitigated the supply issue somewhat, and the situation was later aided by the federal government’s Medicines Supply Security Guarantee which now sees generic pharmaceutical companies being legally compelled to have on stock, in Australia, 4-6 months worth of critical medications.
However medicine supply issues still dominate the health sector in 2022 as manufacturing problems continue and demand sky-rockets for certain types of medication.
Medicines that could potentially be in short supply in 2022
As most medicines in Australia are imported from overseas manufacturers – around 90% – shortages experienced in the U.S. and Europe are generally an indication of what the future holds for us here in Australia
The latest medications experiencing a shortfall in the northern hemisphere include:
- – Anti-depressants
- – Antivirals
- – Potassium Chloride
- – Anaesthetic agents
- – Inhaled budesonide
In Australia, we are currently experiencing protracted supply issues with the following critical medications:
- – Live varicella vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella)
- – Priorix-Texta vaccine 0.5mL powder for injection vial with diluent rifampicin
- – Vancomycin Alphapharm 1 g (as hydrochloride) powder for injection
- – Yervoy ipilimumab (rch) 50mg in 10mL (5mg/mL) concentrate solution for IV infusion via
- – Opdivo nivolumab 100 mg in 10 mL (10 mg/mL) concentrated solution for IV infusion vial
- – DBL Dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection 8mg/2ml (as sodium) injection vial
Further details on these shortages can be found on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website (TGA) website.
Note from National Custom Compounding – Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have been making up prescription medication, for doctors, hospitals and community pharmacists, on behalf of their patients, when overseas supply stalls. We do this in our purpose-built laboratory in Queensland using only the highest quality ingredients from our highly reputable API suppliers.
This service allows patients to continue their treatment plan uninterrupted and avoids the unwanted necessity of having to prescribe an alternative, less-effective medication.
If you experience difficulty finding a certain medication we may be able to help by compounding that very same medication here in Australia. For more information contact National Custom Compounding on 1300 731 755 or [email protected] compounding.com.au.