Whilst rare, this can happen for a variety of reasons e.g. the manufacturer could be experiencing production problems, there could be issues with availability of the raw materials or the demand may outweigh the supply.
In 2012, the UK Mental Healthcare service was experiencing a shortage in supply of vital medications. This problem was widespread affecting the National Health Service (NHS) and the independent healthcare sector alike whose pharmacy supplies had been exhausted.
In this instance, the supply shortage was due to manufacturing issues, the medication had been unavailable for a period of months, and no suitable alternative was available. With the supply of medicines disrupted, there was a potential risk to patients needing their treatments.
All UK hospitals are required to have a contingency for managing shortages of medicines should this occur. When this happens there is a legal framework in place whereby an equivalent alternative unlicensed drug can be sourced and imported in to the country to treat the condition until such time as the registered medicine becomes available.
As Masters is well versed in the efficient supply and distribution of medicines and holds the proper licenses; through our worldwide network of reputable partners, we were able to act quickly and respond to this supply issue.
By entering in to a distribution agreement with West- Ward Pharmaceuticals in the US, and working closely with the UK Mental Healthcare providers who had implemented their contingency plans to identify the usage figures, Masters were able to supply Lorazepam Injection 4mg/mL under special license, filling the shortage gap across the entire UK.