HRT tsar returns to previous role overseeing COVID-19 boosters

Madelaine McTernan, who was recently appointed hormone-replacement therapy (“HRT”) tsar, to help deal with UK supply issues, has returned to her previous role overseeing vaccines. This is ahead of the planned autumn COVID-19 booster campaign set to commence on 5 September 2022 in England.

What is the current status with menopause medication?

The Department of Health and Social Care (“DHSC”) has said that access to the medication for menopause symptoms has improved over the four months that Madelaine McTernan has been head of the HRT Taskforce. However, stocks of some products remain low. As a result, this means prescribing limits and swaps will continue for the foreseeable future. In addition, serious-shortage protocols that limit dispensing to three months’ supply and allow for specified alternative products to be supplied will remain in place for 12 HRT products, including some gels and creams containing oestrogen. This means that woman’s health is continuing to be affected. Women across the UK are unable to obtain HRT medication because of shortages with people having to endure the following symptoms:

  • migraines
  • severe backpain
  • hot flushes

Some people have been turning to the black market or private prescribers for alternatives ways to source HRT medication.

What is being said?

DHSC Secretary Steve Barclay reiterated that women’s health remains a priority for the Government and it would ensure everyone who needed HRT could access it. He said:

“Madelaine’s work and that of her taskforce and the department has been vital and her recommendations will ensure progress in HRT supply continues.”

Madelaine McTernan herself stated:

“I want to thank suppliers and manufacturers for their engagement and positive action to tackle this serious issue. I have presented my key learnings on how the department can continue to manage HRT supply and work with the industry as it continues efforts to meet rising demand.”

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