Metformin supplier explains what went wrong

The supplier of the lion’s share of Australia’s slow release metformin has spoken out about the reasons for the shortage that has gripped the country since February.

The company, Alphapharm, supplies most of the country’s metformin XR 1000 and XR 500, which until recently it sourced from an overseas manufacturer.

But in February the supply dried up after the overseas manufacturer ran into “considerable supply chain issues”, an Alphapharm spokeswoman told Pharmacy News.

The fallout triggered a nation-wide shortage of the drugs, the repercussions of which are still playing out despite assurances from the TGA, sponsors and wholesalers that the supply is again flowing.

In March Alphapharm moved to shore up supply by transferring the manufacture of 500 XR tablets to its facility at Carole Park in Queensland.

But shipping and analysis of raw materials meant it was