An application to have the cost of sanitary products subsidised, has been rejected by the government drug agency.
The application, from a private citizen, was received in December following reports some women were resorting to rags and old clothing as an alternative.
Pharmac's director of operations Sarah Fitt said they first had to decide whether tampons and pads fall within its funding powers.
She said they don't as they're not considered a medical device, or medicine.
"For anything, we consider it has to show a therapeutic benefit, related to a health need, and in this case it didn't meet that requirement."
But the agency would still consider any future applications for sanitary products where there was evidence of a specific health need, she said.
Last year the Salvation Army helped launch a campaign with Countdown seeking donations of sanitary items for vulnerable women.
Additional reporting by NZ Newswire