Why medicines become unavailable and what to do about it.

Has your medication been taken off the market?

For anyone managing a chronic health condition or protracted illness, the thought of a drug manufacturer discontinuing their medication is not a cheery one. Patients often go through a lengthy process of ‘trial and error’ to find a medication regime that works for them – to start the process again is disruptive to their health care, not to mention frustrating.

Why do drug manufacturers suddenly take a safe, effective and approved medication off the market?

There can be several different reasons. Drug companies invest considerable time and money into research and development of new-and-improved formulas for their older medications. These new drugs are often marketed under different names and contain slightly different formulas and sometimes different preservatives and fillers. While a new medication may be an improvement for some, it may also introduce complications for a small percentage of patients.

Sometimes medications are discontinued because the number of people using the drug is small, and its manufacture is no longer profitable for the drug company. Drug manufacturers are, after all, businesses, with commercial considerations. However knowing this does not make it any easier for patients deprived of their essential medication.

Medications may also become unavailable due to their popularity – the drug manufacturer simply cannot produce the drug quickly enough to meet demand. This is often the case with new drugs that are producing improved results in common healthcare complaints.

The good news is there is a solution. Using pharmaceutical base ingredients, a compounding chemist can make up discontinued or unavailable medications for a similar price to the one on the pharmacist’s shelf. The compounding chemist follows a script provided by your doctor and ensures all ingredients and ratios are identical to those used in your usual medication. This allows you to continue your treatment uninterrupted and you can avoid complications that may arise from starting on a new medication.

If you find yourself unable to access a medication due to discontinued manufacture or lack of supply, speak to your doctor about utilising the services of a qualified compounding chemist.

 

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