OIA response: Phenelzine supply

Response to a request for information on the supply of phenelzine.

18 September 2019

[name and contact information redacted]

Dear [name redacted]

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON PHENELZINE

Thank you for your request dated 21 August 2019 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to phenelzine sulphate (Nardil) supply. Your request was:

Can you please provide the below information urgently:

1) The current estimated supply in New Zealand of Phenelzine sulphate (both Nardil and alternative brand (Nardil S29))

2) How long the current supply is forecast to last given the current situation

3) Expected timeframe of the shortage

4) Information regarding supply of Nardil S29 (my pharmacist advises that their supplier has the Nardil alternative as currently listed as out of stock with nil ETA). Why is this? What brands are the available alternatives? When does Pharmac expect for alternatives to be available?

Additionally, can you please provide all information you hold on the current shortage of Phenelzine sulphate. I am interested in the cause, management, mitigation and resolution of the issue. This part of my request, while important, is non-urgent.

This request includes, but is not limited to:

1) Any discussions, analysis, explanations or other information about the cause of the current non supply.

2) Any briefings to any other agencies or Ministers on the current supply issues.

3) All advice provided to doctors, pharmacists, pharmaceutical wholesalers, their professional organisations or any other medical professionals on the supply issues, guidance on alternatives, and their role in managing it.

4) Any discussions, analysis, briefings or other information about decisions made to seek to source an alternative medication.

5) Any discussions, analysis, explanations or other information about Pharmac's management of the current supply issue.

6) All correspondence with the supplier, or their representatives or agents or related parties, about the resolution to the issue, the cause of the issue, and approaches to mitigating the impact of the issue.

PHARMAC response

In response to your first four questions, the supplier of Nardil and Nardil s29, (Link Pharmaceuticals/Healthcare) has advised PHARMAC that it expects to be able to ensure the on-going supply of phenelzine sulphate. This will either be through the supply of the registered brand of Nardil, or via an unregistered (S29) brand of Nardil.  

We understand that stock of Nardil S29 is currently available. Link advises that the resupply of the registered Nardil is likely to be in 3–4 months, although we consider that there is a risk that supply of the registered Nardil could be further delayed.  

In response to question 3 of your second group of questions, PHARMAC included a news item on phenelzine supply in its regular communications to doctors and pharmacists (The Pharmaceutical Schedule Update) in May 2019. This is publicly available at https://www.pharmac.govt.nz/2019/04/18/SU.pdf [PDF, 313 KB].

In relation to your second group of questions, please find documents within scope of this request attached [PDF, 6.5 MB]. We have redacted information from the document either as it is out of scope, or because we consider this is necessary to protect the privacy of natural persons (section 9(2)(a)). We considered whether the public interest outweighed the reasons for withholding the information. In this case we decided that it didn’t.

You have the right under section 28(3) of the OIA to ask an Ombudsman to investigate and review our decision.

In the meantime, we hope that this information is helpful.  We are making our information more freely available, so we will now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website.  Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.

Yours sincerely

Alison Hill
Director, Engagement and Implementation