Health professionals have been advised of the impending shortage of the antibiotic Augmentin by manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

The shortage is due to manufacturing capacity issues at their facilities in the UK and problems sourcing active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Augmentin is one of the most widely prescribed antibiotics in primary care.

It is prescribed by doctors for chest infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia.

GlaxoSmithKline notified health professionals in Ireland that once their current stock is exhausted in the coming months, no further supplies will be available until late next year.

The problem is compounded by the fact that three suppliers of a generic medicine all purchase the product from the same source as GlaxoSmithKline.

However, a spokesperson for pharmaceutical company Mylan has said it will be able to supply the market fully with its generic Germentin while Augmentin is out of stock.

The Irish Pharmacy Union said it is concerned about the impending shortage, as it will occur this winter when demand for this medicine is at its highest.

In response to TD Michael Lowry, Minister of State for Primary Care Alex White said the HSE and Irish Medicines Board have been engaged with manufacturers to manage the supply problem and to identify alternative sources of supply.