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@example.com.
RCOphth Quality and Safety Group
UK Ophthalmic Pharmacy Group
|Medication||Brand Name||Manufacturer||Reason for shortage||Likely duration of stock shortage||Potential alternatives*|
|Iopidine (Apraclonidine hydrochloride) eye drops 0.5% (5mg/ml)
(updated 4 June 2019)
|Novartis||Back in Stock||Back in Stock||Back in stock|
|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. 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 25 March 2019)
|N/A||RPH Pharmac-euticals AB (distributed through Focus Pharmac-
|Discontinuation||The product is being phased out and discontinued as of the end of March 2018||RPH Pharmaceuticals will be launching a generic Betamethasone Eye Ointment 0.1% w/w x 3g and are currently expecting stock early 2019|
|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
|Back in stock||Back in stock||Supplies should now be freely available
|Liquid paraffin with white soft paraffin wool alcohols(Updated 3 October 2018)
||Lacri-lube eye ointment||Allergan||Manufacturing issues at sole global manufacturing site||Out of stock for the remainder of 2018 due to manufacturing issue||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|
|Prednisolone 1% eye drops (added 20 December 2018)||Pred Forte||Allergan||No further details||March 2019||Only the 5ml preparation is affected. Supplies of the 10ml products are freely available|
|Bimatoprost 0.3mg/ml and timolol 5mg/ml preservative free eye drops (update 14 March 2019)||Ganfort||Allergan||Back in stock||Back in stock||Pharmacies can now order from wholesalers|
*It is recognised that there will be regional variation in appropriate alternatives in accordance with local formularies