Speaking in the House of Commons, Caroline Nokes, chairwoman of the Women and Equalities Committee, raised the issue of oestrogen gel running out in her constituency. She said: “Pharmacies in Romsey and Southampton North have completely run out, which leaves women of a certain age – and…yes, I declare an interest – without access to the oestrogen gel, which enables us to sleep and to work competently.
“Please, will the Leader of the House arrange for a debate…to make sure that pharmacies are working hand in glove with the DHSC so that we can get the supplies that we need?”
Commons Leader Mark Spencer claimed the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) was aware of supply issues “affecting a limited number of HRT products”.
He said: “However, most HRT products, including alternatives to those experiencing supply issues, are available.
“The Government is working closely with suppliers and stakeholders to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, and to ensure the NHS is informed on a regular basis.”
In an update on April 12, the British Menopause Society (BMS) said “exceptionally high demand” for the oestrogen product Oestrogel had led to shortages.
It said supply issues were expected to be short-term and offered advice on alternatives.
The statement added: “The ongoing challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in many women experiencing difficulties in obtaining their HRT supplies.
“We appreciate that continuing HRT intake is likely to help many women control their often difficult menopausal symptoms, particularly relevant given the additional stress some women may be under in view of the strains of the current situation on society.”