Megestrol acetate: Discontinued

Megestrol acetate is being discontinued. An alternative was available until Jan 2023 to give people time to change treatment.

On this page

13 July 2022 update: Availability of megestrol acetate updated. Advice about NPPA added.

Temporary supply of megestrol acetate

We secured short-term supply of an unregistered megestrol acetate product to help patients transition to alternatives. 

This alternative brand (Megace) was funded from 1 February 2022. Megace is unregistered so must be supplied to patients under section 29 of the Medicines Act.

We expect that stock of Megace will last until January 2023. It was 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

January 2023 – supplies of Megace likely depleted

1 February 2023 – Megace brand delisted

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)

Patients who cannot change medicine

If there are patients who cannot change to an alternative treatment, we would consider funding access to megestrol acetate through our Named Patient Pharmaceutical Assessment (NPPA) process.

NPPA application process

Even with a funding approval from NPPA, there is no guarantee or secure supply of a megestrol acetate product. 

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.