Medicines in short supply in Australia as Christmas approaches

Australian pharmacies are still facing shortages of antibiotics and have fears about what it means for the new year.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration confirmed popular medications such as cefalexin, 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 recognise the importance of antibiotics in treating patients and are facilitating supply of alternative medicines as a priority,” the TGA said in a statement.

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

Other medicines such as trimethoprim, used to treat bladder infections, have been in short supply for weeks and aren’t expected to be restocked until February, 7 News has reported.

Amoxocillin has been in short supply since the beginning of December and isn’t expected to receive supply until the new year.

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

The TGA has issued a Serious Scarcity Subsitution Instrument (SSSI) which allows pharmacists to provide substitutes without needing the prescribing doctor to approve them.

The SSSI for amoxicillan is in place until May 31, 2023 while the instrument for cefalexin is in place until July 31.

“Your pharmacist may be able to give you a different brand, or your doctor can prescribe a different strength or medicine with a similar spectrum of activity,” Royal Australian College of General Practicioners president Dr Nicole Higgens told Sunrise.

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