Labetalol injection 5mg/ml (20ml ampoule): Supply issue

Supply issue Active

Labetalol injection is an antihypertensive used in a wide range of clinical indications, including severe hypertension in pregnancy. It is generally used in hospitals.

Trandate in short supply 

The supplier, Aspen, advises that there is a short supply of labetalol injection 5mg per ml, 20 ml ampoules (Trandate brand). This shortage is due to last from late-July 2020 until February 2021.

The Trandate brand is the only labetalol injection approved by Medsafe.

This supply shortage does not apply to labetalol tablets.

Alternative brand, Alvogen, supplied under s29

As supply of labetalol injections is critical, we're listing Alvogen as an alternative brand.   

The Alvogen labetalol injection 5mg per ml, 20ml ampoules will be listed from 1 July 2020.

The Alvogen injection will be available for distribution in mid-July.

Alvogen is an unapproved medicine in New Zealand. As such, it needs to be supplied in accordance with section 29 of the Medicines Act 1981.

More about medicines supplied under s29

PHARMAC has received expert clinical advice from the relevant PTAC subcommittees. They advise it is not uncommon for section 29 medicines to be used in critical care and obstetrics. They note patients are carefully monitored in these settings. 

We know supplying a medicine under section 29 is not ideal. However, section 29 supply is the only alternative to an out of stock situation for this medicine.

We appreciate that this can limit the ability of non-medical prescribers to prescribe this medicine. 

Information for prescribers

Alvogen is an unapproved medicine in New Zealand. As such, it needs to be supplied in accordance with section 29 of the Medicines Act 1981. Prescribers need to be familiar with their obligations under section 29.

Only medical practitioners can supply section 29 medicines.

What you need to know about Alvogen

Alvogen:

  • has the same concentration and volume as the Trandate injection. 
  • is an overseas-registered pharmaceutical
  • has slightly different packaging and presentation from Trandate
  • has been approved for use in the US.

In all clinical settings where labetalol injection is used, we recommend:

  • staff familiarise themselves with the packaging and presentation of Alvogen injection
  • clinical protocols and guidelines are amended to include Alvogen specific information, if needed.

Information for pharmacists

The Alvogen brand of labetalol injection 5mg per ml, 20 ml ampoules will be listed in Section B of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 July 2020.

It will be listed on the Schedule to be supplied under section 29.

Wastage rules will apply.