WOMEN have been forced to buy HRT on the black market as shortages have emerged across the UK.
Millie Kendall has told how she felt she had to pay £50 to get a dose when debilitating symptoms crept in again.
The head of the British Beauty Council said she bought it from the mother of a work colleague.
She said: “I was panicking.
“I’m 55 years old, my legs are very swollen, I can’t sleep and my anxiety has returned.
“It’s a necessity – and a lack is a shame.”
The supply of HRT has been halted since pre-Covid – the therapy helps fight menopausal symptoms, which include anxiety, joint pain, trouble sleeping and hot flashes.
Shortages mean women have difficulty getting their HRT from pharmacies and are looking to the ‘black market’.
Certain products have been sold out since 2018 due to supply chain and manufacturing issues compounded by the pandemic and increased demand.
Demand for estrogen has skyrocketed amid the quest to soon make it available over the counter without a prescription.
Labor MP Carolyn Harris, chair of the government’s new menopause task force, said women were being let down.
She added, “The problem with menopause is that for far too long women have not been listened to, women have been ignored, prescribed and diagnosed for other conditions, and menopause has not even been considered…
“For a woman going through menopause, this hormone replacement therapy is just as important as insulin is for a diabetic.”
She also told the BBC that “women take their own lives out of anger, frustration, insecurity and fear” that they suffer when not on medication.
In response, the health minister announced that he would appoint an HRT czar.
Jo McEwan of menopause training company PositivePause, which supports women and organizations, welcomed the announcement.
She said: “What has happened is that now supply is clearly not able to keep up with demand.
“But this isn’t the first time it’s happened, so I think, yeah, let’s hold someone accountable or get someone with that authority to say, ‘Right, let’s see the bigger picture, let’s go with the Talk to stakeholders, let’s talk to the pharmaceutical companies, and let’s make sure that women don’t, as you say, trade HRT in parking lots and buy it abroad.
Prescriptions for HRT have more than doubled in England over the past five years, with nearly 538,000 prescriptions in December, according to NHS data.
Women struggle with both the availability and the high cost of HRT prescriptions.
Last October, the government pledged to reduce the cost of repeat HRT prescriptions, saving millions of women hundreds of pounds a year.
It was a win for The Sun’s Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign, which was endorsed by Ms Harris and dozens of celebrities.
But despite support for the ‘menopause revolution’, there have been delays in changing the cost of HRT.
Estrogel maker Besins Healthcare said it had experienced “exceptionally high demand” in recent months, leading to shortages of the product.
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https://www.the-sun.com/health/5198505/forced-to-buy-hrt-black-market/ I was forced to pay £50 for HRT on the black market after my fear of shortages returned