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New fully funded morning-after-pill


Media release

New fully funded morning-after-pill joins fight against abortions

Women can now get a new morning-after-pill fully subsidised, which is a major step by PHARMAC to help bring down the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies.

The new post-coital treatment is the first subsidised treatment specifically designed to be used for this purpose and the most reliable form of oral emergency contraception currently available. It has fewer side effects than older preparations, and causes minimal nausea. In addition, it is easier to use.

This newest product joins other initiatives PHARMAC has completed to help the Government’s aim to cut down abortion. Women now can choose between seven oral contraceptive pills, compared to none fully subsidised three years ago.

PHARMAC has announced that the drug, levonorgestrel (brand name Postinor-2) will be available fully funded from the first of June, and it will be listed under a new therapeutic subgroup called Emergency Contraceptives.

The decision follows a recommendation from the Pharmacological and Therapeutic Advisory Committee’s hormonal contraceptives subcommittee that an emergency contraceptive should be listed. PTAC is the medical advisory group that gives independent advice to PHARMAC.

It is unusual for PTAC to make recommendations such as this, as the committee typically considers applications from drug companies for their drugs to be subsidised. However, in this case the subcommittee recommended that PHARMAC should be proactive in finding a drug to meet this specific health need.

PHARMAC General Manager Wayne McNee says the subcommittee had identified a need, and it was pleasing to be able to meet that need.

“The need for a more suitable option was brought to PHARMAC’s attention, and we responded by proactively making sure this specific health need was met. Women now have this option. Currently doctors have to use medicine that was intended for other use, so it is not all that convenient for the woman.”

Prescriptions for levonorgestrel will carry only a flat prescription charge of $3, the same as all oral contraceptives. Normal prescriptions carry co-payment charges ranging from $15 down to $3 with a community card.

[ends]

For more information contact Wayne McNee.
Phone: (021) 622249

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