Update on the Bicillin L-A shortage

  3 May 2024  Victorian Government Department of Health   |   Third party content – view disclaimer

The Victorian Government Department of Health has updated its fact sheet on the Bicillin L-A (benzathine benzylpenicillin) shortage, in line with advice from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The fact sheet, found here, includes the following key messages.

There is an ongoing national shortage of Pfizer Bicillin L-A prefilled syringes (600,000 units per syringe and 1.2 million units per syringe) that is expected to continue throughout 2024.

The shortage may impact the management of conditions such as syphilis, acute rheumatic fever/rheumatic heart disease and other group A streptococcal diseases.

The Section 19A approval for the UK-registered Brancaster Pharma benzathine benzylpenicillin 1.2 million unit vial product lapsed on 30 March 2024. Pharmacists can still supply this product if it was purchased prior to this date.

The TGA has approved a second overseas-registered product, Extencilline benzathine benzylpenicillin 1.2 million unit vial (France) under Section 19A of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

Since 1 April 2024, the Extencilline benzathine benzylpenicillin product is subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The Extencilline and Brancaster benzathine benzylpenicillin products require reconstitution and have different administration instructions to Bicillin L-A pre-filled syringe.

Clinicians, pharmacies and health services providing care to patients with conditions that typically require treatment or prevention with benzathine benzylpenicillin are recommended to conserve adequate stock for priority conditions and groups and consider the use of appropriate alternative antibiotic agents in suitable patients.

The shortage situation continues to evolve and may change on short notice. Clinicians, pharmacies and health services are advised to anticipate and prepare for disruptions to benzathine benzylpenicillin supply throughout 2024.

Note: If GPs within the Western Public Health Unit (WPHU) catchment have a patient for whom benzathine benzylpenicillin is the only suitable medication and they experience difficulty with access, the WPHU medical team is available to provide advice and assistance with obtaining supply and can be contacted during business hours on 1800 497 111.

Disclaimer: This article was provided by Victorian Government Department of Health. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.