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Australians left waiting nine months for contraceptive pills

A Pfizer Australia spokesperson said the shortages had been caused by a manufacturing delay and the situation was being continuously reviewed.

“Pfizer Australia is focused on providing a consistent supply of these contraceptives for patients, and is committed to actively resolving this matter,” they said.

About 14,000 Australians use the Brevinor, Brevinor-1, Norimin and Norimin-1 pills.

In October, the TGA approved two other contraceptive pills with identical ingredients, Necon and Pirmella, for distribution in Australia to help ease the shortage.

However, Family Planning NSW medical director Deborah Bateson said these pills, which are not on the PBS, can be prohibitively expensive for those who have found themselves without their regular medication.

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“For many women, we know that cost is very important,” she said.

“But these replacements are much more expensive and they can also be difficult to get hold of: pharmacies might not have them in stock.”

Dr Bateson said prices of the replacement medications in pharmacies observed by Family Planning NSW varied from $59 to $169.

“It can take many changes of pills to try to find the right one, so for people who have found that right one and now can’t have access to it, it can be quite a frustrating thing,” she added.

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