Shortages Information

About Shortages

We are aware of contractor concerns in the area of short supply products:

In recent years, the number of product shortages has increased due to a number of factors, including rationalisation of production sites, measures taken by manufacturers to control the market for their medicines, the growth in use of generic medicines (nationally and internationally) and price pressures.

The shortage system was created to address very unusual cases where the generic could not be purchased at a price below the brand or for the price published in the Scottish Drug tariff. The Scottish Government (SG) has also introduced an adjusted price system to deal with sudden price rises in high volume lines.

We liaise regularly with SG based on information from contractors around lines to attempt to get shortage or adjusted price concessions. However, as the supply chain is UK wide it is actually driven very much by the Department of Health (DH) and their investigations as to whether a shortage or adjusted price is granted.

How the Process Works:

  • Applications are made to the DH for the month in question. SG is informed of proposed changes and CPS also back up applications for changes with information received through our shortage reporter from contractors.
  • DH carry out their investigations and make a determination whether to grant a shortage or and adjusted price when DH/SG propose an adjusted price, CPS has the opportunity to challenge the price.
  • Unlike our counterparts south of the border the adjusted price can run longer than one month (down south is has to be granted every month).

For more information on this please read our Drug Tariff Product Shortages & Adjusted Price Setting guide.

We continue to monitor the overall level of profit being achieved in order to ensure that the Margin Sharing Agreement is delivering the agreed level of profit for contractors.

Shortages Feedback Form

Please use our Shortage Reporter App to report problems experienced in obtaining generic medicines due to Shortages of Scottish Drug Tariff Part 7 Items. We regret that we cannot respond to reports on an individual basis.

Non-Part 7 Shortages

If you have difficulty in obtaining any Part 7 items please let us know using our Shortage Reporter App. Keep an eye on our website during the month for any late additions which will be highlighted in blue.

List of Current Shortages

Drug Tariff Prices

Sucralfate Tablets and Suspension (brand name Antepsin™) Pack Size 50
(still from 01/09/2014)

An unlicensed replacement product is available.
Please see below for further information*

Sucralfate Suspension - Pack Size 250ml
(still from 01/09/2014)

An unlicensed replacement product is available.
Please see below for further information*

Demeclocycline Hydrochloride Caps 150mg - Pack Size 28
(brand name Ledermycin)

Invoice Price Now Accepted. Please endorse SP for item price and XP for any additional expenses incurred.

Nabilone 1mg Capsule

An unlicensed replacement product is available.
Please see below for further information*
Nabilone 250mcg Capsule An unlicensed replacement product is available.
Please see below for further information*


Since mid-2014 contractors have been unable to order the licensed version of sucralfate (antepsin) tablets and liquid. Due to the shortages Practitioner Services had placed the item on the short supply list and contractors were able to endorse the invoice price and be paid accordingly.

Circular PCA(P)(2015)17 described changes to the drug tariff in relation to unlicensed medicines and imports from 1st September 2015. In the FAQs issued there is guidance for when a licensed version of a product is unavailable and an unlicensed version is required.

Q: The prescriber has ordered a licensed product that is currently unobtainable, with no projected date of return to full supply. Can the contractor ask for a special formulation?

A: The contractor should discuss this with the NHS Board. It is possible that a contingency arrangement is in place, such as temporary supply from a NHS production unit. The NHS Board may confirm the supply situation with National Services Scotland (NSS). It is possible that more than one quote may be required if the product has to be made to order.

There is also reference made to being unable to get a product at the published price in part 1 of the drug tariff.

‘For lines outside of part 7 where the product is either physically unavailable or unavailable at the published price, the community pharmacy contractor should in the first instance contact the local NHS Board who may either agree a price for a single occasion or take steps to resolve the situation by a mutually agreeable route. Separate arrangements will be in place for lines in the Stoma List.’

We are aware that some Health Boards are contacting contractors for further information on the continued dispensing of this product without board authorisation. We would advise contractors to follow the advice above and request authorisation for this and any similar products. Once authorisation is granted it is valid for 12 months where the price paid does not vary by more than ±20%.

If you have any questions please get in touch with our Pharmacy Services team on or 0131 466 3540.