Supplies of a popular birth control pill are running low, and it's forced Pharmac to restrict the amount that pharmacies can hand out.
Rather than a three or six month supply, patients will only be able to get one month's worth of Levlen E-D.
Pharmac says this is because the supplier is running low on the meds.
It's hoping to avoid a shortage before the pill is meant to be re-stocked in late march.
Medical director at the College of GPs Dr Richard Medlicott told Mike Yardley that this kind of things happens periodically.
“We are not anticipating having to change our prescription habits.”
Medlicott says that if there is a supply issue, that will be passed on to pharmacies.
He expects that they would to get more information if there was a serious shortage.
Medlicott says there are alternatives for people to use.
“Increasingly, we’d like to see the use of implantable contraceptives. They are more effective, and there’s a need to prevent teen pregnancies.”
Pharmac is also dealing with a shortage of paracetamol.
Pharmac director of operations Lisa Williams says supplier API has not been able to supply enough Pharmacare-branded blister packs of 500 milligram tablets.
Pharmac is getting in additional supplies, including stock from a different brand, but until pharmacy supplies are up again, Paracetamol will continue to be rationed.
Medlicott says that GPs have not received any information around that either.
LISTEN TO RICHARD MEDLICOTT TALK WITH MIKE YARDLEY ABOVE