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28 February 2020

Strike action in France could cause shortages of valproate

We have been advised by the pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, that there may be shortages of its valproate-based treatments in coming months.

Sanofi has experienced a significant disruption to the production of valproate due to ongoing strike action at its manufacturing plant in France.

This has  already resulted in shortages of valproate semisodium over December 2019 and the drug company anticipates that ongoing issues may result in further shortages across the valproate range in the coming months.

Localised problems

A spokesperson for the company said that shortages were likely to be localised and that wherever possible, they would redistribute stock around the country to ensure that people are able to access their prescribed medication.

At the moment they are warning of localised shortages of 200mg Epilim Gastro-resistant tablets.

In a statement released this week, the company said: “Any patients who have concerns regarding stock information should contact their pharmacist who can contact their supplier to check stock availability in their area. If pharmacists have additional enquiries, they can contact Sanofi Customer Services on 0800 854 430 so that we can assist and help resolve the issue.”

Getting prescription in good time

Professor Ley Sander, medical director at the Epilepsy Society emphasised that it is important for people to take their prescription to their pharmacy in good time, rather than leaving it till the last minute.

“One of the most useful measures you can take to help you get your medicine as prescribed, is to ensure that you take your prescription to your pharmacy in good time - up to seven days before you actually need the medication,” said Professor Sander.

“That way, if the pharmacy does not have your drugs in stock, it gives the pharmacist time to order stock from suppliers or to ring other pharmacies or suppliers, to access your medication elsewhere.”

See your doctor

If a particular valproate treatment is unavailable, people are advised to see their doctor to discuss an alternative form of treatment.

Epilepsy Society will keep you updated about any issues with valproate via its website and social media channels.

More information

Find out more about how to cope with medication shortages.

Call our Helpline

If you are  feeling anxious about issues concerning your medication, please call our Helpline on 01494 601400 (Mon and Tues 9am-4pm and Wed 9am-7.30pm).

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