Hydroxocobalamin (B12) inj 1 mg per ml: Supply issue

Supply issue Active

BNM has advised of a supply issue with its hydroxocobalamin injections. Both the Panpharma brand (Pharmacode 2637391) and Vita-B12 brand (Pharmacode 2603055) are affected.

15 February Update

BNM expects a delivery of Vita B-12 to be released to wholesalers in the first week of March 2024.  A significant shipment of Hydroxocobalamin Panpharma (the contracted brand) is expected to be released to wholesalers in mid-March 2024. 

Affected products

The supplier of Hydroxocobalamin, Boucher and Muir (BNM) advises it is out of stock of its Panpharma brand and is closely managing the supply of the alternative brands.

There is a global shortage of the raw material used for the manufacturing of hydroxocobalamin, which has placed significant pressure on New Zealand's supply. 

Shipments are being sent to wholesalers weekly however stock remains constrained throughout the supply chain.

Affected products

  • Chemical: Hydroxocobalamin 
  • Brand: Hydroxocobalamin Panpharma
  • Presentation: Inj 1 mg per ml, 1 ml ampoule
  • Pharmacode: 2637391
  • Chemical: Hydroxocobalamin 
  • Brand: Vita-B12
  • Presentation: Inj 1 mg per ml, 1 ml ampoule
  • Pharmacode: 2603055

Schedule listing for hydroxocobalamin(external link)

Alternative product

Pharmac has listed two section 29 alternatives in the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 November 2023. The alternatives are being supplied by Boucher and Muir.

Pharmacies should check with their wholesalers on availability. Stock remains constrained. It will take time for any delivery to make its way through the supply chain to pharmacies.

  • Brand: Neo-Cytamen 
  • Pharmacode: 2667924
  • Subsidy: $4.10
  • Measure / Qty: per 5
  • Brand: Vitarubin Depot Injection 
  • Pharmacode: 2667916
  • Subsidy: $8.20
  • Measure / Qty: per 10

Schedule listing for hydroxocobalamin(external link)

Pharmac says this is available but I can’t get it?

We understand it’s frustrating when we’re saying something is available, but you can’t get it. The information we have about available supply relates to whether the supplier has stock. But we don’t have visibility of the supply chain between the supplier and pharmacies.

People wanting to fill their prescription should keep in touch with their local pharmacies about when stock might be available.

It can take 1 to 2 weeks between stock becoming available at the supplier to it reaching pharmacies. Pharmacies should talk to their wholesalers for more accurate timings.

Sometimes, suppliers or wholesalers will ration the stock they supply, which is called putting it on allocation. They do this when stock is limited, and they want to make sure it’s distributed as fairly as possible.

Prescribing and supplying an unapproved medicine

Section 29 of the Medicines Act 1981 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 – such as, a doctor. 

We know supplying a medicine under section 29 is not ideal. In this case, however, this will allow patients to be able to access an appropriate treatment. 

We apologise for any inconvenience this causes. 

Advice for prescribing under section 29 – BPAC website(external link) 

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

Medsafe’s section 29 Declaration / Notification Form [DOC](external link)

What patients need to know about unapproved medicines – Healthify website(external link)

Expected resupply

The supplier expects the Hydrocobalamin Panpharma to be back in stock in mid March 2024. 

Who to contact

If you have questions about this issue, email enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz

Please include as much information as you can about the product (presentation, brand, pharmacode) and who your wholesaler is.  

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