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Government admits ‘supply issues’ are causing a nationwide shortage of hormones for trans women

Nick Duffy January 29, 2020
The UK is facing a shortage of hormones for trans women.

The UK is facing a shortage of hormones for trans women. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)

The government has acknowledged a hormone shortage is impacting provision for trans women across the UK.

A “major and widespread” shortage of hormone supplies in the UK has persisted since the summer – impacting transgender women, who take the drugs for gender-affirming treatment, as well as cisgender women, who take them to alleviate symptoms of menopause.

In a response to a parliamentary question, health minister Jo Churchill acknowledged the “ongoing supply issues”.

Government admits HRT supply issues impacting trans patients.

She said: “The department fully understands that maintaining access to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications is vitally important to many people, including transgender people in this country.

“We are aware of ongoing supply issues with some HRT preparations due to a range of issues including manufacturing issues, regulatory issues and problems accessing the raw pharmaceutical ingredient as well as commercial decisions made by some companies to divest these products.

“We have been working closely with all suppliers of HRT preparations to maintain overall supply to patients. Although some HRT products are affected by supply issues, supplies of alternative HRT preparations have remained available.”

The UK continues to face a shortage of HRT drugs taken by trans and cis women
The UK continues to face a shortage of HRT drugs taken by trans and cis women (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)

The answer was in response to a question from Labour’s shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth, who had asked whether the Department of Health and Social Care “has made an assessment of the effect of the nationwide HRT shortage on the health of the transgender community”.

Shortage continues to impact transgender and cisgender patients.

The British Menopause Society said: “There continues to be availability issues with many HRT products related to manufacturing shortages or supply issues.

“The BMS has been informed that these are temporary shortages, which pharmaceutical companies and their suppliers are addressing.

“The BMS has been in ongoing discussions with the manufacturers as well as the RCOG, FSRH and the Medicines Supply Team at the Department of Health and Social Care to explore this ongoing issue and to provide up to date information on HRT product availability.”

More: hormone replacement therapy, hormones, HRT, Jo Churchill, Jon Ashworth

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