It took Jenny Blake years to find the perfect treatment for her menopause symptoms.
So when she went to her local pharmacist last week and discovered there was a shortage of the hormone replacement drug Premarin .3mg she was filled with anxiety.
She had to call a number of pharmacies before snagging the last packet in her area.
Drug company Pfizer said there had been a delay in shipment and it expected supply to be restored by this week.
Pharmacy Guild ACT vice president Amanda Galbraith, who also owns Capital Chemist Kambah, said there were currently shortages of drugs across the board.
"I don't think I've ever seen such a consistent rate of shortages," she said.
"Sometimes it's a lack of planning or foresight, other times it's a particular ingredient that can't be supplied."
Ms Galbraith said patients concerned about possible shortages, especially if they take uncommon drugs, should build a good relationship with their pharmacists who could try to ensure they have a back supply of the drugs they need.
"I also always teach my patients to learn the name of the actual medicines, not just the brand name," she said.
Ms Blake said the shortage caused her deep anxiety because she relied on the drug to function and deal with "hideous" menopause symptoms.
"When I started taking it, within a week I felt like a human again," she said.
"I'm really frightened at the prospect of having to go back to trialling drugs.
"It's such an important drug, we don't talk about menopause much but there would be so many women struggling if they can't get these drugs.
"For me it's mostly the hot sweats at night that keep you awake. The headaches and moodswings you can manage but not if you're not getting any sleep."
A Pfizer spokeswoman said the company expected supply to be restored this week.
She said there was a shortage due to a delay in shipment from the country of manufacture.
"In consultation with the TGA, Pfizer had informed the marketplace prior to the period of constraint. There is no concern with the quality, safety or efficacy of the product," the spokewoman said.
"The needs of patients and their physicians is always a priority for Pfizer. During this period, we have taken proactive steps to minimise market supply interruption and work towards expediting re-supply of Premarin 0.3gm to Australia.
"We apologise for any inconvenience this issue caused."
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