Compounding Pharmacists Fill the Gap Created by Antibiotic Shortage

Compounding Pharmacists Fill the Gap Created by Antibiotic Shortage

If there’s one thing that the current antibiotic shortage in Australia has taught us, it’s the critical role compounding pharmacists continue to play in our society when supply chains fail.

With supplies of the commonly prescribed oral antibiotic medications, amoxicillin, at dangerously low levels across the country, compounding pharmacists have been called on to make up supplies from scratch to help people whose health heavily depends on their continued use of this important medication.

It’s a situation the Australian Medical Association (AMA) is calling ‘potentially fatal’.

Speaking to the ABC, the National President of the AMA, Steve Robson, voiced his sense of alarm,

“In the middle of the last century, simple things like an injury gardening could potentially be fatal,” Mr Robson said,

“It’s extraordinary to see, in 2023, that the infections that we thought were part of the history books, and now are coming back, and we can’t treat them.”

Liquid antibiotics commonly used for those who have difficulty swallowing pills, such as infants, small children and the elderly ,are in particularly shorty supply and there have been calls for this form of antibiotic to be reserved for those most at need.

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) now has a ‘Serious Scarcity Substitution Instrument’ (SSSI) in force, meaning that compounding pharmacies can make up supplies of the medication from scratch when requested by an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Amoxcillin is a commonly prescribed antibiotic medication used in the treatment of pneumonia, urinary tract infections, strep throat, middle ear infections and Streptococcus A.

Other antibiotics also in short supply include cefalexin, metronidazole and trimethoprim.

The TGA says the national shortage is due to ‘an unexpected increase in consumer demand,” and that supplies are not expected to return to normal until at least March of this year. It’s also believed the shortage is being driven by a worldwide shortage in the raw ingredients used to make these antibiotics.

Note from National Custom Compounding: If you’re having trouble filling your script for amoxicillin, we can help by making it from scratch. And we can do this in as little as 24 hours from receipt of your script. For more information and no obligation advice contact us on 1300 731 755 or