Women going through menopause may be in 'danger' if they are accessing medication through unofficial routes due to the UK shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Thorrun Govind, chair of the English Pharmacy Board, has warned.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, Ms Govind voiced concerns about the ‘danger for women’ in obtaining HRT online and through marketplaces, and not through pharmacies.

This comes amid acute shortages of some HRT products reported across the UK, with one MP claiming pharmacies in her constituency had ‘completely run out’ of the product.

Ms Govind said: ‘We are concerned that people are using online, or they are using marketplaces, to obtain supplies of HRT and other medication, but it’s really important that you get your medicine supply through your pharmacy team.

‘As a healthcare professional, I have a duty to check that the medication is stored properly, that it’s the correct medication, that, if there’s a problem, we can recall the medication, which we cannot do if you get that medication online or abroad. There’s a danger there for women.’

On Sunday, the health secretary Sajid Javid announced plans to appoint an HRT tsar to tackle the shortages.

The RPS  is calling for community pharmacists to be able to dispense substitutes for out-of-stock HRT products without having to contact the prescriber.

The proposed powers would enable pharmacists to substitute HRT for different quantity, strength, formulation or generic version of the same medicine on a prescription. This goes further than serious shortage protocols, which allow pharmacists to prescribe alternative quantities of medicines.

Last year, the Government announced it would be launching a single annual prepayment for HRT.

The scheme, which some thought was meant to begin ‘within months’, was first announced in October 2021 and has the potential to save individuals up to £205 by enabling women to pay one charge for a 12-month supply of HRT.

However, the scheme’s launch has already been delayed by a year. which pharmacy leaders have deemed ‘disappointing’.

The HRT shortages also come after prescription data, published last month, suggested HRT prescriptions had doubled over the last five years.