Wavedata have looked in depth at generic product shortages, but have not so far examined branded product shortages in any depth. Therefore we looked at the ABPI’s serious shortage protocol (SSPS) list published on their website each month and chose the list of products with serious shortages which were not expected to be resolved till the end of October 2022.
This list included Ovestin Cream, Oestrogel Pump Pack Gel and Sandrena Gel Sachets. We looked at the average, maximum, minimum and standard deviation for the prices which were offered to or paid by pharmacies or dispensing doctors over the last ten years to see if there was any change in the run up to the shortage.
Sandrena Gel Sachets 1mg 91 showed a small decline in its average price from £16.66 to £15.64 during the shortage, but the other products did not show any average price changes. The same product saw a reduction in its maximum price from £17.39 to £15.64, and Sandrena Gel Sachets 1mg 28’s maximum price fell from £5.85 to £5.24. Ovestin Cream 0.1% 15g’s maximum price actually rose from £4.42 to £5.25. There were no changes in the minimum prices of any of these products, and the standard deviations behaved in erratic ways, some going up and others down without any overriding theme. So it seems as if changes in the market price are not an indicator of a branded product shortage.
However there were changes in the number of times these products were advertised on price lists to pharmacists and dispensing doctors. Oestrogel Pump Pack Gel 0.06% 1 (64 Doses) saw its record count of market offers decline from 26 in July 2020 to just 6 in June 2022. All of the Sandrena Gel Sachets declined dramatically between April and September 2022, only Ovestin Cream 0.1% 15g seemed unchanged.
So looking at this small sample of branded products with supply problems, it may be possible to say that the shortage was accompanies by a reduction in the number of market offers being made on price lists to pharmacists and dispensing doctors, but not always.