Supplies of commonly used topical agents for otitis externa remain in short supply on the North Coast during the peak summer season.

Late last year Sanofi-Aventis announced delays with the supply of Otodex / Sofradex due to a manufacturing problem. As a result alternatives, such as Soframycin, Chlorsig and Kenacomb gutt, have run short although Kenacomb oc remains available.

The Non-PBS items Locacorten-Vioform and Ciprofloxacin HC are available. Ciproxin gutt is also available and PBS listed for ATSI patients and infants less than 18 months with a perforated ear drum.

Antibiotic eye drops are in short supply as well with chloromycetin gutt difficult to obtain. Chromomycetin oc and the aminoglycosides remain available but older therapies like Bleph 10 and Golden Eye ointment have long been removed from the market. 

Dr Andrew Binns described this as a major issue for local GPs, particularly on week-ends when providing emergency after hours care. He also noted that ringing around looking for stock is a great time waster for GPs and pharmacists. This problem is worsened by the delivery of limited stock because it is quickly exhausted by the pent up demand and the "ring around" cycle starts again. 

The shortage is expected to continue until at least the end of January.