Shortages decision making

Last updated: February 07, 2020

Decision making

It is not possible to cover every eventuality, but the five questions below may help you make decisions about managing a medicine shortage.
1. Can the medicine be stopped? (It is no longer required, not essential, or there are non-drug options.)
No          Yes  Stop the medicine if it is safe and appropriate (e.g. consider withdrawal reactions).
2. Is this a local supply problem? (e.g. one wholesaler out of stock; one pharmacy out of stock.)
No,  it's a national shortage          Yes  Obtain from a different supplier; try another pharmacy.
3. Does DHSC guidance or other Info source above assist you? (NB you must register with the SPS site before you can see DHSC guidance.)
No          Yes  Follow DHSC or other guidance
4. Can you swap to a different brand or formulation of this medicine? (BNF, MIMS, or eMC may help with options.)
No          Yes  Swap to different brand or formulation, if suitable
5. The patient may need to switch to a different medicine. Is it your role to do this?
No  Refer to prescriber            Yes  Our-e-learning below may help you