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Drugs Shortages


The Royal College of Ophthalmologists works with the UK Ophthalmic Pharmacy Group to update our members on drug shortages. This is not intended as a guide to patients, who should always speak to their consultant, pharmacist or other medical professional about finding alternative medication. The College is unable to offer advice to patients on where to source specific drugs or possible alternatives.

In response to concerns raised by the College, the Department of Health Medicine Supply Team has confirmed that manufacturers have a legal duty to ensure continuity of supply of medicines to UK patients. Joint industry and Department of Health guidance recommends companies inform the Department of Health as soon as possible about impending shortages which are likely to have an impact on patient care. When prior notification of product discontinuation or shortage is provided potential impact can be planned for and addressed by the Department of Health.

Shortages can occur for various reasons including shortages of raw materials/plant failure/imbalance between supply and demand. Below you’ll find an regularly updated list of drug shortages that the College and UKOPG are aware of.

If members become aware of drug shortages not listed please contact the College via [email protected].

RCOphth Quality and Safety Group
UK Ophthalmic Pharmacy Group

Medication Brand Name Manufacturer Reason for shortage  Likely duration of stock shortage Potential alternatives*
Mitomycin C

(added 25 October 2019)

Kyowa Kirin Quality control release and manufacturing concerns MHRA Alert End of January 2020
Minims Phenylephrine 2,5 % and 10%

(updated 25 October 2019)

Bausch and Lomb Shortage of the active pharmaceutical ingredient Until December 2019

(updated 10 October 2019)

Lotemax Bausch and Lomb Unknown Until end of November 2019
Aciclovir Eye Ointment (3%w/w)

(updated 25 March 2019)


Zovirax GlaxoSmithKline UK Ltd Discontinuation GSK will cease the manufacture and supply of Zovirax Eye Ointment globally
during 2018 due to repeated challenges in guaranteeing a sustainable product
supply.Stock of Zovirax Eye Ointment is anticipated to continue to be available in the UK until the end of March 2019.See full notification DHCP Zovirax Eye Ointment Discontinuation Letter 13.12.18
There is no other branded or generic aciclovir eye ointment available, however unlicensed acyclovir eye ointment may still be available. Please
refer to the UKMI memo on the discontinuation of Zovirax Eye Ointment for
further information on alternative treatment options.
Betnesol Eye Ointment 0.1% w/w x 3g
(Updated 4 November 2019)
N/A RPH Pharmac-euticals AB (distributed through Focus Pharmac-
Discontinuation RPH Pharmaceuticals AB, have advised that following the discontinuation of Betnesol Eye Ointment 0.1% w/w x 3g they have experienced manufacturing problems which have resulted in the nonviability of launching a generic Betamethasone Eye Ointment 0.1% w/w x 3g.


RPH Pharmaceuticals NOT will be launching a generic. Martindale Pharma can support the market in the meantime.


Betnesol (betamethasone 0.1%) eye/ear/nose drops

(Updated 4 November 2019)

N/A RPH Pharmac-euticals AB (distributed through Focus Pharmac-
Out of stock Resupply date late 2019. Martindale Pharma can support the full market during this time.
Brinzolamide 10mg/ml eye drops
(Updated 5 December 2018)
Azopt Novartis PI shortage and delay at plant Intermittent shortages over the next few months Numerous generic products remain available
Acetazolamide 250mg MR tablets (Updated 20 December 2018) Diamox SR

Eytazox MR



Back in stock Back in stock Supplies should now be freely available


Liquid paraffin with white soft paraffin wool alcohols(Updated 12 August 2019)
Lacri-lube eye ointment Allergan Manufacturing issues at sole global manufacturing site Out of stock due to an ongoing manufacturing issue. Allergan are unable to provide a re-supply date at this stage Xailin Night eye ointment (contains white soft paraffin, white mineral oil and lanolin alcohols)


Timolol 0.25% and 0.5% unit dose (Updated 20 November 2018) Timoptol Santen Product is being discontinued on 31 March 2018 N/A Numerous preservative free alternatives available including timolol 1mg/g gel and levobunolol 5mg/mL unit does eye drops

Preservative free multi-dose 2.5mg/ml and 5mg/ml timolol eye drops are available as potential alternatives

Nedocromil 2% eye drops
(Added 6 June 2018)
Rapitil Sanofi This product has now been discontinued N/A Numerous mast cell stabilisers remain available including sodium cromoglicate and lodoxamide
Ketorolac trometamol 5mg/ml eye drops (Added 20 December 2018) Acular Allergan No further details March 2019 A generic preparation (manufactured by Brown and Burk) may be available. Other NSAID eye preparations remain unaffected

*It is recognised that there will be regional variation in appropriate alternatives in accordance with local formularies