Scottish Medicines body reassesses menopause drugs amid HRT shortages | Menopause


A researched hormone replacement therapy is being reassessed for use in Scotland as TV presenter and menopause campaigner Davina McCall has revealed a postcode lottery in her prescription across the UK.

Amid an HRT supply crisis, McCall spoke to specialists about the benefits of utrogestan, a “body-identical” plant-derived micronized progesterone, in his Channel 4 documentary Sex, Mind and Menopause, aired Monday.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), an independent group that decides which medicines should be accepted for use by NHS Scotland, rejected utrogestan for general use in 2009.

But on Tuesday, the SMC revealed that – while previously unconvinced the drug offered good value for money – another company now owns the rights to the drug since this advice was issued and that she had been encouraged to resubmit her application.

A spokeswoman said: “He has been asked to resubmit so we can assess the evidence and provide updated advice to NHS Scotland.”

The Scottish government said it was committed to ensuring postmenopausal women had equal access to medicines, adding that while utrogestan was not routinely available, clinicians could still prescribe it on a case-by-case basis.

A spokesperson added: ‘We have encouraged the manufacturer of utrogestan to resubmit their medicine to the Scottish Medicines Consortium, so that it can be considered for routine access within NHS Scotland, and we understand that the manufacturer is in the process of confirming timelines for a resubmission. We have had discussions with the company regarding their resubmission plans since the start of this year. »

Caroline Phipps-Urch, who lives in Edinburgh and presents the Menopause Sisters show on UK Health Radio with her brother, GP Dr Claire Phipps, started a petition last year to persuade her local health board, NHS Lothian, to prescribe the drug.

“A lot of women just don’t know it’s a possibility,” she told the Guardian, adding that many specialists consider utrogestan to be safer than synthetic progesterones, like the Mirena coil, and to hardly more expensive.

She said celebrities like McCall talking about their experiences with menopause added to a momentum among all women to push for better treatment. “A lot of celebrities at this age feel confident talking about it, and women more generally feel we’ve had enough.”

“Women’s health in general has long been overlooked and it’s about having shared decision-making with their GP and a matter of choice. We know HRT protects women against heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis, so we’re looking to save money on long-term treatment.

Last week, Professor Martin Marshall, president of the Royal College of GPs, told the Guardian that “so many” women were suffering from distress and some were at risk of serious side effects from using drugs prescribed to others, due to acute shortages of certain HRTs. products, which are used by around 1 million women in the UK to treat menopausal symptoms.

This article was edited on 5 May 2022 to add a statement from the Scottish Government making it clear that resubmission talks began early this year, rather than after Davina McCall’s program as an earlier version stated. This was part of the Scottish Government’s original response, but was not included in the previous version of the article.


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