Pharmacists will be given greater freedoms to choose alternative HRT products if the original prescription is out of stock to help solve HRT shortage problems.

The Government’s HRT Supply Taskforce, which was set up to tackle widespread shortages, has agreed to further Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) to give pharmacists more control – something they have been demanding.

It will mean women can be offered another product at the pharmacy to relieve their symptoms if their normal HRT is out of stock.

At the end of April, the Government issued three SSPs to restrict dispensing for Oestrogel, Ovestin and Premique Low Dose to three months’ supply to help relieve pressure in the system.

The two new further SSPs are for Lenzetto transdermal spray and Sandrena gel, which will also be put on a three month supply.

York Press: The HRT shortage has seen women complete online swaps and look to the black market (PA)The HRT shortage has seen women complete online swaps and look to the black market (PA)

Under the rules, all these items can generally be substituted for transdermal patches.

Thousands of menopausal women have struggled to get their hands on key medication, which has led to online swaps and medicines being offered on the black market.

In the new announcement, the Government said there had been recent further deliveries of the popular products Oestrogel, Ovestin and Premique Low Dose.

Premique now has good availability, it said, while the manufacturers of Oestrogel and Ovestin are working to increase UK supply.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “We are working to ensure HRT is available for everyone who needs it and I am pleased to see suppliers continuing to increase the supply of some products which is a testament to the collaborative approach being taken.

“Meetings with suppliers are ongoing and we’re taking decisive action to manage HRT supply issues and reduce any delays – this includes issuing further SSPs so that women are able to access the medication they need.”

Pharmacists have also been granted powers to share medicines, where appropriate.