Medical experts ask for action because of a shortage of HRT plasters

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A shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) patches used to treat menopausal symptoms is causing problems for thousands of women in the UK, medical experts said.

About one million women in the country use HRT to relieve menopause symptoms.

In a joint statement, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), the British Menopause Society (BMS) and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health Care (FSRH) said they received multiple questions from women who could not get HST products because of the persistent production and delivery problems.

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Doctors also report that it becomes difficult to prescribe HST because of the shortages.

"We are very concerned that thousands of women are struggling to get their HRT prescriptions, or even recipes for alternative treatments," said professor Lesley Regan, president of the RCOG.

"HRT is essential for many women to ensure that they are able to continue to live a high-quality life."

Some women have reported on social media that they are buying bulk products that they have bought over the counter in Spain, while others have them shipped from far in South America.

In particular, inventories of Evorel HRT patches, made by Janssen in Belgium and with a market share of 40% in the UK, were affected by the shortages.

Janssen UK said: “We really understand how difficult the UK HRT deficits are for patients and their caregivers.

"We have provided the BMS with an updated supply list based on current demand."

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The crisis allegedly started in late 2018 when supply problems starting in China forced some manufacturers to stop the production of the patches.

This led to an increased demand for other brands that in turn became scarce.

The deficits are expected to continue until next year.

Haitham Hamoda, an advisory gynecologist and chairman of the GBS, said that help and advice should be given to women who have problems getting their HRT medicines.

"The British Menopause Society has advised prescribers to find equivalent types by looking at the estrogen and progestogen component and matching them as close as possible to another brand," he said.

"Furthermore, we need to understand the reasons for this and know what measures can be taken to solve this problem and prevent it from happening again in the future."

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