HRT shortage leaves thousands of menopausal women desperate for help

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The appointment comes amid criticism that ministers have shown too little concern for ­sufferers as the supply problem has escalated. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he was determined to solve the crisis by recreating the model used by Kate Bingham, who chaired the highly ­successful Covid vaccine taskforce.

HRT helps to alleviate debilitating symptoms of the menopause, including disturbed sleep, hot flushes, anxiety and joint pain.

But there has been an acute shortage for weeks, caused in part by global supply issues and high demand. It has led to women asking friends on holiday abroad to act as “HRT mules” and fly back with supplies.

Mr Javid said: “I know just how much women rely on HRT and that some have been struggling to get certain medicines. I’m determined to do all I can to make sure that supplies are meeting hugely rising demand and there is equitable access.

“It’s also clear we need to apply some of the lessons from the vaccine taskforce, so we will soon be recruiting for an HRT supply chairperson.”

Katie Taylor, founder of support group The Latte Lounge, said: “We’ve had messages from hundreds of women, many of whom are just absolutely desperate. They can’t get their usual prescription, so a lot of them are driving for hours to go to different pharmacists.”

Jo McEwan, from menopause training firm PositivePause, welcomed the announcement and said: “Let’s ensure that women are not trading HRT in car parks and buying it from abroad’.”

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