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Antibiotics in short supply across Australia as GPs call for fix to ‘increasing problem’

Medicine shortages are an “increasing problem” for Australia and antibiotics are among the commonly prescribed drugs currently in short supply, the peak body for general practitioners says.

The drugs regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA),  said the three most commonly prescribed antibiotics – amoxicillin, cefalexin and metronidazole – are scarce. They are used to treat a range of bacterial infections, including pneumonia and other chest infections, skin infections and urinary tract infections.

To see patients through the shortage, the TGA has authorised pharmacists to provide alternative antibiotics without approval from the prescribing doctor.

“Importantly, many of these medicines have alternatives available,” the TGA said. “Your pharmacist may be able to give you a different brand, or your doctor can prescribe a different strength or medicine with similar spectrum of activity.”

A TGA spokesperson said “most of the antibiotic shortages are caused by manufacturing issues or an unexpected increase in demand”.

Dr Nicole Higgins, the president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said the shortage of certain medicines was “becoming an increasing problem in Australia”.

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Source: The Guardian, 12 December 2022


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