Shortage of inhalers: I put in a... - Asthma UK communi...

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Shortage of inhalers

Bob987 profile image

I put in a prescription request for my montelukast and inhalers (Fostair 200/6 and Spiriva) over a week ago. Hadn't heard anything so went to the pharmacy today to see if I could pick it up only to be told there is a major supply problem and they don't know when they'll be able to get hold of either of the inhalers. I have just under a weeks supply of both left so hopefully they'll be able to get hold of some soon!

13 Replies

I am on the same inhaler and I only got one when I ordered mine. My pharmacy just said they owed me. Nonething about not being able to get it. I would contact your doctors and tell them the problem you are having getting hold of your inhaler. I am sure they will help you out. God bless

Oh no it's so annoying when this happens I would first try another pharmacy, if same issue contact your asthma specialist or gp explain as they may have to prescribe different dose and you make it up or next best thing...

Bob987 profile image
Bob987 in reply to mylungshateme

Thanks for your reply. I spoke to the pharmacist but he said he'd checked and all the local pharmacys use the same supplier so no one can get hold of any. He's asking around/ringing suppliers etc and trying his best to get hold of them for me. If he hasn't succeeded by tomorrow, I'm to ring my GP and hope they can find an alternative

I’d go back to the pharmacy and ask what alternatives ARE available, then ask your GP to prescribe those, temporarily. Eg I think a generic version of Fostair came out last year. Don’t risk running out. I know there’ve been on-off shortages of Fostair, due to covid vastly increasing demand, but hadn’t heard about Spiriva.

Also, for the future, seek out an independent pharmacy if you can, rather than a chain. They’re not tied to suppliers so can ring round when there are shortages.

I just collected my Fostair yesterday without any problems. Looking at the patient leaflet it looks like it's made in France so it could just be a glitch in the supply chain for that particular pharmacy. It's not listed by the as a serious supply shortage which suggests any glitch is temporary and can be sorted by the pharmacy and their suppliers.

Ask the pharmacy if they've reported their Fostair shortage via PSNC as this may spur them into obtaining your Fostair for you.

eek, that's very worrying. Do contact the surgery ASAP as Hanne advises. Since having a similar issue in the past & concerns over Brexit affecting supplies I've managed to stockpile two spare Fostair (I use slightly less in summer months).

Interesting about getting prescriptions from an independent pharmacy rather than chains is interesting & useful to know.

Good luck. P

I’ve had endless problems with the likes of Boots and Lloyds. I get prescribed some unusual meds by Royal Brompton at times, for bronchiectasis, & need more flexibility. I’ve now found a small independent pharmacy & the difference is astonishing! They really go the extra mile. Prepared to use their discretion to substitute a drug if the prescribed format isn’t available. All pharmacists have this discretion, but won’t stick their necks out if they’re just Lloyds employees or whatever. Wish I’d known of them before!

I got my repeat of Fostair 200/6 delivered by my chemist last week with no problem. I hope your problems are soon resolved. It is very worrying being unable to obtain essential medicines.

I don’t have that problem. Mine is with Ventolin nebulas, no longer made by GSK, but are available through generic.

But best advice is always have a months supply on hand. As you go to use the current month you should be ordering your next. That is what my specialist says.

Bob987 profile image
Bob987 in reply to Andymcrr3

Thanks for your advice. I normally do have a months supply buy only switched to this combination of inhalers in November and due to shortages/restrictions could only order one of each at a time.

When I was on fostair I found it much harder to get at some chemists. I’ve not had an issue at Asda pharmacy. I’m now on a different one but had plenty from Asda.

But I was ringing my other local pharmacy’s previously to see who had it in stock prior to save time. Some chemists were a lot worse than others. In my old estate I found one without a supply issue eventually.

I’ve had very good experiences with Well pharmacies. Since I moved, the nearest is too far to use for every day, but even tho I’m not a regular patient, they’ve still gone the extra mile to get me sorted out when there’s been a problem locally.

Naomi_AUK profile image

Hi all, it's Naomi, asthma nurse at AUK, I've been in touch with Chiesi, the manufacturers of Fostair, and there was a problem with logistics over Christmas and New Year and that messed the supply up - but normal service has now resumed and your Fostair should be available to you very soon, in the next couple of days, in fact. They're super sorry this has happened!

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