Medicine Supply Notification: Permethrin 5% w/w cream

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued a medicine supply notification for Permethrin 5% w/w cream.


Tier 2 – medium impact

Date of issue 8th September 2023

  • Permethrin 5% w/w cream is in limited supply until further notice due to an increase in demand.
  • Unlicensed supplies of permethrin 5% cream may be sourced, lead times vary.
  • Malathion liquid, an alternative to permethrin for treatment of scabies, is currently unavailable.
  • Crotamiton 10% Cream (Eurax), which is licensed for the treatment of scabies, remains available but can only meet its current demand for other conditions.
  • Benzyl benzoate 25% topical emulsion can be sourced from special-order manufacturers; this is an unlicensed medicine.
  • Ivermectin 3mg tabletsa are licensed for treatment of scabies but are not currently marketed in the UK. Unlicensed supplies of ivermectin 3mg tablets may be sourced, lead times vary.

Unlicensed products

The following specialist importers have confirmed they can source unlicensed permethrin 5% cream (please note there may be other companies that can also source supplies):

The following special-order manufacturers have confirmed they can manufacture unlicensed benzyl benzoate emulsion (please note there may be other companies that can also source supplies):

If there is currently no listing on dm+d for the imported product for prescribers to select using their prescribing systems an EPS prescription for the unlicensed product cannot be issued. Where a prescriber wishes to prescribe a specially manufactured or imported product, an FP10 paper prescription should be issued as ‘ Permethrin 5% cream or Benzyl Benzoate emulsion (Special Order)‘ and endorsed by the pharmacy as a non-Part VIIIB special with the following information:

  • Amount dispensed over pack size used;
  • Invoice price per pack size from which the order was supplied less any discount or rebate;
  • Manufacturers’/importers’ MHRA licence number;
  • Batch number of the product supplied;
  • SP

A copy of this medicine supply notification, including further information, has been sent to all pharmacy NHS email addresses.

DHSC and NHSE/I have now launched an online Medicines Supply Tool, which provides up to date information about medicine supply issues. The contents of these MSNs can now be viewed on the Tool.

The Tool also details any changes to resupply dates and updates to the entries.

To access the Tool you will need  an NHS email address. Once set up and logged in, you will be able to access it online.

New shortages not listed on the SPS website, can be reported using our shortage reporting tool.

Support the call for more funding by recording information about the informal advice you provide to patients over just one day.

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