There have been numerous reports of UK members taking their prescription for their B12 injections to pharmacies only to be told that the Generic B12 is no longer being manufactured and that there is a waiting list for the branded B12.  Yesterday I contacted one manufacturer of the Generic B12 and was told that production is still on-going but they are only contracted to supply hospitals in the UK and not pharmacies.  So there is plenty of generic B12 being made but it doesn’t seem to be working its way into pharmacies.  I also contacted Boots the Chemists who told me that they had plenty of stocks of the branded B12 and if anyone was told that their injections were unavailable they would have to wait a maximum of three, maybe even four days, before the injections were back in stock.   I  also spoke to my local Sainsbury’s pharmacy who told me the same thing.  I then contacted Alliance Healthcare, which is the biggest pharmaceutical wholesaler in the UK told me that the generic B12 was not available (though they don’t know why) but that they had ample stocks of the branded products.  Again, they assured me that if there is any local shortage then it would be rectified within a few days.

I then contacted the Department of Health at Skipton House in London and after explaining the problem was put through to the Distribution Team who are “very concerned” about any local shortage and yesterday (Friday) they had contacted all licensed manufacturers of B12 and asked for a written explanation of why there seems to be local shortages.  At five minutes to five yesterday a member of the Department of Health’s Distribution team telephoned me and told me that they hope to have a full explanation for any local shortages from the manufacturers on Monday.  I will keep you informed.

It seems to be a case that there is a distribution issue involving the injections rather than a shortage of the injections.

If anyone is not able to obtain their injection and develops any neurological symptoms (numbness, pins and needles etc.) you are advised to make an emergency appointment with your doctor to discuss this and mention the NEQAS bulletin which can be downloaded from the society’s website.

I will keep you posted on the Department of Health’s report on Monday/Tuesday.