Medicines are in short supply in Australia as Christmas approaches

Australian pharmacies are still facing antibiotic shortages and there are fears about what it will mean for the new year.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration confirmed that popular drugs such as cephalexin, amoxicillin and metronidazole are in short supply.

These antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and some have been in short supply since November.

“We recognize the importance of antibiotics in the treatment of patients and are facilitating the supply of alternative medicines as a priority,” the TGA said in a statement.

Cephalexin and amoxicillin usually treat chest, throat, sinus, and other infections, while metronidazole is often used to treat vaginosis and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Other drugs such as trimethoprim, which is used to treat bladder infections, have been in short supply for weeks and are not expected to be restocked until February, 7 News reported.

Amoxicillin has been in short supply since early December and is not expected to receive supplies until the new year.

“Most shortages are caused by manufacturing problems or an unexpected increase in demand,” the TGA said.

The TGA has issued a Severe Shortage Substitution Instrument (SSSI) which allows pharmacists to provide substitutes without the need for the prescribing doctor to approve them.

The SSSI for amoxicillin is in effect until 31 May 2023, while the instrument for cephalexin is in effect until 31 July.

“Your pharmacist may offer you a different brand, or your doctor may prescribe a different strength or drug with a similar spectrum of activity,” Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Dr Nicole Higgens told Sunrise .

Originally published as Big medicine shortage before Christmas

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