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Hormone Replacement Therapy (Shortages)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 27th February 2020.

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Photo of Bob Doris Bob Doris Scottish National Party

I have been contacted by women who are suffering due to United Kingdom-wide shortages of HRT. One woman told me just this morning that

“Stopping medication abruptly can have all kinds of negative effects ... Until there is a re-established supply it feels as though you just have to wait feeling less than yourself until it becomes resolved ... All the issues you were trying to combat sweats, mood swings etc, come back there must be woman struggling day to day possibly in silence as they feel they cannot turn to their employer.’

I will write to Matt Hancock, the UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, outlining the blight that is being caused to the lives of women in my constituency, who I represent, to ask what he can do to tackle the shortage. We surely have a common cause across the UK on the matter. How can the Scottish Government assist?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I know that many women have very real concerns about shortages of HRT. As Bob Doris rightly said, the implications of that for many women can, and will, be severe. Many women will suffer very debilitating symptoms and—as Bob Doris also rightly said—many will suffer in silence. It is an unacceptable situation, which people are rightly concerned about.

The supply of medicines is, of course, reserved to the UK Government. We continue to press it to work very closely with the affected companies to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Last month, the chief pharmaceutical officer for Scotland wrote to all national health service boards, general practitioners and community pharmacists to advise them about the latest supply position and to provide advice about appropriate HRT products for patients who are affected by the supply issues.

Any disruptions in the availability of drugs, including HRT, will be concerning to those who have been prescribed them, and anybody who is affected by the disruption should discuss alternative treatment options with their doctor in the first instance.