Megestrol acetate: Discontinuation

Discontinuation Active

Megestrol acetate is being discontinued. A temporary alternative is available to give people time to change treatment.

On this page

28 June 2022 update: Delisting date added.

Temporary supply of megestrol acetate

We secured short-term supply of an unregistered megestrol acetate product to help patients transition to alternatives. We expect that supply of this unregistered brand would likely run out by September 2022.

This alternative brand (Megace) was funded from 1 February 2022. Megace is unregistered so will need to be supplied to patients under section 29 of the Medicines Act. We expect that stock of Megace will last until September 2022.

The alternative will be delisted on 1 February 2023.

Details of Megace listing:

  • Tab 160 mg
  • Pharmacode: 2630966
  • Price: $48.80
  • Unit: 30
  • Wastage claimable
  • Delisting date: 1 February 2023

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 – such as, doctors. 

We know supplying a medicine under section 29 is not ideal. 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)

Key dates

1 August 2021 – existing patients only can be dispensed funded megestrol

1 February 2022 – Megace brand listed

1 May 2022 – Apo-Megestrol brand delisted

September 2022 – supplies of Megace likely depleted

Existing patients only from 1 August 2021

To ensure supply of megestrol for existing patients for as long as possible, we added an endorsement to megestrol in August 2021. This means only people who were using megestrol before 1 August 2021 can access funding.

Pharmacists can endorse the script where a patient has a record of a previous dispensing of megestrol. 

We appreciate that these changes can be inconvenient to patients, pharmacists, and prescribers.

Alternatives to megestrol

We have received clinical advice that medroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera) may be a suitable funded alternative for some people who use megestrol acetate. 

About medroxyprogesterone acetate – NZ Formulary(external link)

Medroxyprogesterone acetate Schedule listing(external link)

Who to contact

If you take megestrol, talk to your doctor or the person who prescribed you megestrol. They know your clinical circumstances and can advise you of your best options.