Popular BP drug stays in short supply

2 minute read

Diltiazem will trickle back throughout the year after shortages in raw ingredients and packaging components and ‘manufacturing challenges’.

Waiting times for resupply of popular blood pressure medication diltiazem hydrochloride have blown out – to late September for one brand – and the wait may be worse in rural and regional areas.

As we reported in mid-February, diltiazem – marketed in Australia as Cardizem, Vasocardol and Diltiazem Sandoz – is sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis Australia and is used for the control of blood pressure, angina and atrial fibrillation. At the time full supply was expected by the end of July.

As of yesterday diltiazem is one of 368 medications listed as either unavailable, limited availability, or emergency supply only on the TGA’s medicine shortage reports database. Forty-four of those are listed as critical shortages – including warfarin, clot-busting agent tenecteplase, and antibiotics such as ampicillin.

At the earliest, Diltiazem Sandoz 360mg capsule bottles won’t be available until 24 March, with other formulations delayed from then. The latest, Vasocardol 360mg capsules, won’t be available until 30 September.

Doctors are urged to swap their patients to another calcium channel antagonist, verapamil, sponsored by Alphapharm and Viatris in Australia.

A spokesperson for Sanofi-Aventis Australia told TMR: “We are currently experiencing a shortage of diltiazem due to shortages in some raw ingredient (API), packaging components and manufacturing challenges. Diltiazem also has a complex manufacturing process, which can result in extended lead times on new stock.

“All up to date information can be found on the medicines shortages website. We are also encouraging healthcare professionals to contact our Medical Information line on 1800 818 806. Our team can assist healthcare professionals with questions regarding diltiazem and treatment alternatives.”

In regard to continued lags in resupply to rural and regional areas compared with metropolitan supply, the Sanofi spokesperson said the company had “reached out” to the National Rural Health Alliance to “better understand experiences in this regard”.

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×