The serious shortage protocol (SSP) issued in response to ‘significant ongoing disruption to the supply of Fluoxetine 40mg’ has expired, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced yesterday (5 October).

This comes as ‘sufficient stock’ of Fluoxetine 40mg capsules has been made available to supply to patients ‘normal demand’, PSNC said.

The Department of Health and Social Care first authorised an SSP on Fluoxetine 20mg capsules in May of this year. It was initially due to expire in July, however, the SSP was extended to the 2nd of October of this year.

‘Any prescriptions for Fluoxetine 40mg capsules after this date must be dispensed in accordance with the prescription, as the SSP will no longer be valid for us,’ PSNC explained.

Under the drug protocol, pharmacists in England were able to supply two Fluoxetine 20mg capsules in place of one Fluoxetine 40mg capsule.

SSPs came into force last year through legislation that allows community pharmacists in England to provide appropriate alternatives to patients in the event of serious medicine shortages without having to go back to the patient’s GP for an updated script.

In May, The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) called upon the Health Select Committee to give pharmacists the ability to switch patients’ prescriptions without consulting a doctor, to help minimise any delays in providing patients with medications.

Ongoing SSPs can be found on the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website.