New SSPs issued for Lipitor® 10mg chewable tablets and Paracetamol 120mg suppositories

In response to a significant ongoing disruption to the supply affecting Lipitor® 10mg chewable tablets and Paracetamol 120mg suppositories, two new Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) have been issued by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

SSP 032 – Lipitor® 10mg  chewable tablets

Effective today, 31 May 2022SSP032 provides that for every Lipitor® 10mg chewable tablet originally prescribed, either one Atorvastatin 10mg film-coated tablet or the equivalent dose of Atorvastatin 20mg/5ml oral suspension sugar free must be supplied.

For prescriptions (NHS or private) requesting: Supply permitted under SSP 032:
Lipitor® 10mg chewable tablets Atorvastatin 10mg tablets
OR
Atorvastatin 20mg/5ml oral suspension sugar free

Pharmacists must exercise their professional judgement to ensure the alternative products are suitable for the patient. Where the film-coated tablet is unsuitable for the patient (i.e. the patient is unable to swallow tablets), the pharmacist can assess if supplying the oral suspension is appropriate.

SSP 032 may be amended or revoked at any time but currently expires on 12 August 2022 – PSNC will update contractors on any changes.

SSP 033 – Paracetamol 120mg suppositories

Effective today, 31 May 2022, SSP033 provides that for every Paracetamol 120mg suppository originally prescribed, one Paracetamol 125mg suppository must be supplied. 

For prescriptions (NHS or private) requesting: Supply permitted under SSP 033:
Paracetamol 120mg suppository
Paracetamol 125mg suppository

SSP 033 may be amended or revoked at any time but currently expires on 26 August 2022 – PSNC will update contractors on any changes.

Key points relating to SSP 032 and SSP 033

  • Both SSPs, authorised by the Secretary of State, have been developed by clinicians and provides pharmacists with procedures to follow in providing specific suitable alternative products to help reduce the number of patients having to return to their prescriber for a replacement prescription.
  • Pharmacists are required to read and comply with the requirements outlined within each SSP.
  • Pharmacists must ensure that patients who do not meet the SSP inclusion criteria are referred back to their prescriber promptly.
  • For endorsing requirements for each SSP, please refer to the supporting guidance for SSP032  and SSP033, available on NHSBSA’s website.
  • Patients who are not exempt from prescription charges should continue to pay for their prescriptions as usual.

Reimbursement and remuneration

Reimbursement is for the medicine supplied in accordance with the SSP and not the originally prescribed medicine i.e. in this instance contractors will be reimbursed the Drug Tariff Part VIIIA reimbursement price for Atorvastatin 10mg or Atorvastatin 20mg/5ml oral suspension sugar free or Paracetamol 125mg suppositories. The reimbursement price will account for VAT payment. Supply in accordance with the SSP will result in the following fees being paid to the contractor:

  • One Single Activity fee (currently £1.27)
  • One SSP fee (£5.35)

Support in implementing the SSPs

The following resources have been developed to support pharmacy teams in using these protocols.

Current versions of SSPs

Serious Shortage Protocols Operational Guidance

Serious Shortage Protocols Questions & Answers

PSNC’s Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) Endorsing Factsheet

PSNC Briefing 023/19: Serious Shortage Protocols – A guide for community pharmacy teams

Background information on SSPs

Further information on what SSPs are and when they may be used is available via the links below.

Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) on-demand webinar

Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) webpage