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Contraceptive Supply Shortages - information for clinicians

Update 25 November 2020: 

New Zealand continues to experience supply issues with Pfizer’s funded combined oral contraceptives Brevinor-1 and Norimin.

We recommend not prescribing Norimin or Brevinor-1 because it is unlikely to be available and clients will have to return for an appointment for an alternative prescription.

The following information may be useful for managing these shortages with clients:

• PHARMAC has secured additional supply of Necon. This will help manage shortages of Norimin. This supply of Necon is expected to last until mid-February 2021, when Norimin is expected to be back in stock. Necon contains the same active ingredients in the same strength as Norimin (ethinyloestradiol 35 mcg with norethisterone 500 mcg).

• PHARMAC has made a decision to fully fund Mercilon 28 with no restrictions from 14 December 2020 until 28 February 2020. Until now Mercilon 28 has been partially funded for most patients or fully funded as a second line treatment for low income patients.

• Mercilon 28 may be a suitable alternative combined oral contraceptive for patients who cannot tolerate combined oral contraceptives containing ethinyloestradiol with levonorgestrel (Microgynon 20 ED and Levlen ED), or where a progesterone-only pill or long acting reversible contraceptive is unsuitable.

Clients may also want to move to a different contraception type such as the injection or long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs).

The shortage will have a knock-on effect on the supply of other oral contraceptive pills and demand for LARCs, which will need to be monitored.

If you have clients for whom cost isn’t an issue, you could try one of the unfunded pills. These are:

  • Cerazette
  • Yaz
  • Yazmin

There have previously been concerns about the supply of Depo Provera, however, stock has recently arrived in New Zealand.

Please refer to the PHARMAC oral contraceptives supply updates webpage for more information.

Download this information (pdf) 

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