Group A Streptococcus: Demand for antibiotics remains at an exceptional level, says DoH

The department said one month's worth of stock was exhausted in two days last week. Credit: PA Images

The Department of Health has said demand for antibiotics for the treatment of Group A Streptococus remains at an "exceptional level".

The department said one month's worth of stock was exhausted in two days last week.

While more supplies are expected, pharmacy teams are being advised to work with healthcare professionals to reduce demand.

In a statement, the DoH said: "While demand is well in excess of what is usual for this time of year, the system has been working hard to replenish stocks as quickly as possible, as such wholesalers are still receiving and making deliveries, with more scheduled over the coming days.

"Wholesalers are carefully managing the volumes available to them to ensure that supplies are available to those in greatest need.

"The increase in demand for antibiotics is being seen across the UK and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), who have lead responsibility for continuity of medicines supply on a UK-wide basis, are working closely with manufacturers and wholesalers to expedite resupply deliveries to secure continuity of supply.

"The supply chain has responded positively to this unprecedented surge in demand with suppliers increasing manufacturing capacity and fast-tracking delivery of ingredients required for production."

The department said "locally community pharmacies, wholesalers and procurement teams have been working tirelessly to secure stock deliveries into Northern Ireland" and "acknowledged the immense efforts from all involved".

The statement added: "The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer has updated pharmacy teams on the current situation and to ask that pharmacy teams work with prescribers to understand local antibiotic availability and refrain from ordering excessive quantities to avoid putting the supply chain under additional pressure.

"Advice to HSC clinicians on the management of the current supply issues, including signposting to use of alternatives as necessary, has also been issued.

"The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer and DoH colleagues will continue to liaise closely with DHSC with regard to the UK-wide supply chain, ensuring that Northern Ireland’s supply needs are fully understood."

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