Atenolol oral liquid: International supply issue resolved

Registered atenolol oral liquid was out of stock until early March 2022. An alternative product was listed.

Reason for supply issue

There was an international supply issue with atenolol oral liquid due to a quality assurance issue. The registered product was out of stock in New Zealand from August 2021 until March 2022. 

Alternative products

Atenolol liquid

We listed an alternative brand of atenolol liquid, but it was not Medsafe-approved. This meant it was supplied under section 29 of the Medicines Act. 

  • Presentation: Oral liq 25 mg per 5 ml
  • Brand: Essential Generics
  • Supplier: Link Pharmaceuticals
  • P/code: 2617838
  • Price: $38.20
  • Unit: 300 ml OP 

Prescribing and supplying a medicine under section 29

Section 29 of the Medicines Act allows for medicines that are not Medsafe approved to be prescribed and supplied to people. The medicine must be prescribed by someone registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand – e.g., doctors. 

We know supplying a medicine under section 29 is not ideal. In this case, however, the alternative would be for patients to have no atenolol liquid. 

We apologise for any inconvenience this causes. 

Prescriber and pharmacist requirements for section 29 medicines – Medsafe website(external link)

What patients need to know about section 29 medicines – Health Navigator website(external link)

Changing to a different treatment

We have received advice that patients may be able to transition to an alternative funded treatment. It is important that this is done under the supervision (or on the advice) of a relevant specialist.

Pharmacists: What you need to know

RxOne users: the new listings will be automatically updated by RxOne. If for some unforeseen circumstance it does not happen, please refer to the e-Noticeboard on the RxOne Home Screen for instructions. 

TONIQ users: the new listings will automatically be updated in Toniq medicine databases from the effective date.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the supply of atenolol, contact your wholesaler or the supplier.

If you have questions about transitioning patients to an alternative treatment, contact a relevant specialist in the first instance.

Starship Paediatric Cardiology Department can be contacted for support or advice about changing cardiology patients to an alternative treatment.

If you have funding questions, email enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz