Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) for Lipitor® chewable tablets 20mg

23rd November 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued a Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) following a significant ongoing disruption to the supply of Lipitor® chewable tablets 20mg (SSP013). Community pharmacies in England and Wales are expected to implement SSP013 with immediate effect.


  • SSP013 came into effect on Thursday 18 November 2021
  • SSP013 expires on Wednesday 12 January 2022
  • Under SSP013, when presented with a prescription for Lipitor® chewable tablets 20mg pharmacists can instead supply one atorvastatin tablet 20mg for each Lipitor® chewable tablet 20mg


Recommended actions and advice for pharmacy teams:

  • Ensure the currentversion of the SSP is used before supplying the alternative item
  • Ensure that all staff, including locums, who will be involved in dispensing an item in accordance with an SSP are trained and competent to do so
  • Ensure that an SSP standard operating procedure (SOP) is in place and other relevant SOPs are updated, read, understood, signed and implemented by all members of the pharmacy team involved in service delivery
  • Ensure that the pharmacy team know where they can find new SSPs and/or changes to an existing SSP
  • Ensure that the pharmacy has access to an NHSmail account so that it can receive notification when an SSP is issued
  • Patients should be referred to their prescriber where the patient is unsuitable for inclusion or a non-chewable atorvastatin tablet is not appropriate


Professional indemnity insurance

NPA professional indemnity insurance will cover NPA members, customers (and the pharmacists they employ/engage) when supplying medicines/appliances under the relevant enabling legislation and the Serious Shortages Protocols (SSPs) which apply. It is acknowledged that pharmacists will be expected to exercise professional judgement to determine the appropriateness of making each supply.


NPA support

The NPA template SOP and NHSBSA supporting guidance are available to support pharmacists and pharmacy teams to ensure compliance with relevant requirements when supplying medicines or appliances under an SSP. These resources are available to access from the NPA website:


Further reading:


Please contact the Pharmacy Services team for further advice and support: