Relief as HRT gel producer to boost supplies with new factory

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Pharma firm Besins Healthcare, a key provider of oestrogen gel, announced yesterday it has bought the manufacturing site in Belgium. It will make hormonal products including Oestrogel, with “boosted supplies” expected to reach the UK from August.

Caroline Nokes, chair of the Commons women and equalities select committee, said campaigners had finally been listened to.

She added: “It’s brilliant news for women who have been desperate for supplies in the short term. But we want confidence there are longer-term measures being put into place.”

Elizabeth Carr-Ellis, cofounder of the Pausitivity menopause campaign, has suffered from symptoms during past HRT shortages.

She said: “This is such good news. Every day I’m still getting messages from women unable to get their Oestrogel, and that’s having a knock-on effect with other forms of gel too, such as Sandrena, which is also running out in some areas.

“I’m on Oestrogel myself so the thought that I hopefully won’t have to worry about getting my next prescription filled is brilliant.”

Thousands of women have been affected by shortages of HRT drugs that help with symptoms such as night sweats, hot flushes and low mood.

The number of prescription items has risen by 38 percent over the last seven years due to greater awareness of HRT among patients and doctors.

The Government drafted in experts who led procurement of Covid vaccines to form an HRT Supply Taskforce in April.

Besins Healthcare was one of several firms that met with the taskforce and Health Secretary Sajid Javid in May.

Alexandre Besins, joint CEO for Besins, said demand had soared in the past year in the UK and “we are looking at a range of options for increasing supplies”.

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