New SSP issued for Lipitor® 20mg chewable tablets


In response to a significant ongoing disruption to the supply of Lipitor® 20mg chewable tablets , a Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) has been issued by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Effective today, 18 November 2021, SSP013 provides that for every Lipitor® 20mg chewable tablet originally prescribed, one Atorvastatin 20mg tablet must be supplied. SSP013, authorised by the Secretary of State, has been developed by clinicians and provides pharmacists with procedures to follow in providing either of these suitable alternative products to help reduce the number of patients having to return to their prescriber for a replacement prescription.

For prescriptions (NHS or private) requesting: Supply permitted under SSP013:
Lipitor® 20mg chewable tablets Atorvastatin 20mg tablets

The SSP may be amended or revoked at any time but currently expires on 12 January 2022 – PSNC will update contractors on any changes.

Key points relating to SSP013

Pharmacists must exercise their professional judgement to ensure the alternative products are suitable for the patient.

Contractors will receive an email to their shared NHSmail account informing them of this SSP and pharmacy teams are advised to read the documentation for SSP013 in full and to implement the protocol with immediate effect. Pharmacists are required to read and comply with the requirements outlined within the individual SSP as published on the NHSBSA website for SSP013: Lipitor® 20mg chewable tablets.

For further information please read PSNC Briefing 048/21: Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP): SSP013 – Lipitor® 20mg chewable tablets.

NCSO Endorsement

PSNC requested and secured an extension to the transition period by three months for the NHSBSA to continue to accept the ‘NCSO’ endorsement and allow SSP claims on tokens until the end of January 2022. 

PSNC made a request for an extension to the transition period as we understand that some suppliers are in the process of making improvements to systems to reduce the risk of errors in applying the correct SSP endorsements. Additionally, a few system suppliers are yet to fully enable and/or deploy the SSP endorsement functionality within their systems and some are in the process of finalising guidance for contractors to utilise the SSP endorsement functionality within systems. The extension to the transition period gives pharmacy contractors more time to adjust to the new SSP endorsement and to ensure pharmacy staff are correctly applying correct endorsements to both electronic and paper prescriptions.


Reimbursement is for the medicine supplied in accordance with the SSP and not the originally prescribed medicine i.e. in this instance contractors will be reimbursed the Drug Tariff Part VIIIA reimbursement price for Atorvastatin 20mg tablets. The reimbursement price will account for VAT payment. Supply in accordance with the SSP will result in the following fees being paid to the contractor:

  • One Single Activity fee (currently £1.29)
  • One SSP fee (£5.35)

Support in implementing the SSPs

The following resources have been developed to support pharmacy teams in using these protocols.

Current versions of SSPs

Serious Shortage Protocols Operational Guidance

Serious Shortage Protocols Questions & Answers

PSNC’s Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) Endorsing Factsheet

PSNC Briefing 023/19: Serious Shortage Protocols – A guide for community pharmacy teams

Background information on SSPs

Further information on what SSPs are and when they may be used is available via the links below.

Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) on-demand webinar

Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) webpage

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