Australia appears to be facing a major shortage of extended-release metformin.

It’s understood that Diabetes Australia has received dozens of calls from patients complaining about the lack of supply.

Only 4 of 30 pharmacies contacted by myDr‘s sister publication Pharmacy News over a 24-hour period had stock of either the 500mg or 1000mg formulations of the medication.

Some pharmacies say they’ve been grappling with supply issues since January. All sponsors of the drug appear affected.

Some observers believe global suppliers have diverted stock from Australia to more profitable markets in response to PBS subsidy cuts.

It’s understood that the supply problem has become so acute that one supplier has resumed domestic production to fill the gap.

The TGA has yet to be formally advised of a shortage of Diabex and Diaformin, a spokeswoman says. The body has been in contact with one sponsor to clarify the reported issue. Small amounts of the 1000mg variant are believed to be entering the supply chain later in May with 500mg supply expected to resume in June.

Immediate-release metformin is not affected.

19 May 2016

Last Reviewed: 19/05/2016