Oxytocin (BNM) 10 iu per mL: Supply issue resolved

There was a temporary supply issue affecting Oxytocin BNM 10 iu per mL (pharmacode 2577046), due to a shortage of glass ampoules.

17 January 2023: The supplier will release Medsafe-approved BNM oxytocin to wholesalers from 18 January 2023. The supplier has asked for it to be prioritised for release.

Please note it may take some time for the registered product to make its way through the supply chain to pharmacies. 

Alternative product listed 

To ensure product was available during the brief out of stock, we worked with Boucher and Muir to source an alternative. We funded the Australian pack of oxytocin 10 iu per mL, Oxytocin GH (Pharmacode 2649179) from 1 December 2022. It was available to order from mid-December 2022. 

Oxytocin GH has the same active ingredient as Oxytocin BNM and is manufactured at the same facility. 

Oxytocin GH was not Medsafe approved  

We know supplying oxytocin under section 29 was not ideal, especially in locations where a doctor might not be immediately available to prescribe oxytocin as required. However, introducing an unregistered product was the only option to ensure a 10 iu per mL product is available.

By having an unregistered product available for use where a doctor was available, meant we could ensure the registered products could be used where this is not possible.

Oxytocin GH needed to be prescribed and supplied under Section 29 of the Medicines Act 1981. 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.  

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)

Pharmac encouraged BNM to get in touch with Medsafe about seeking the necessary consents for this brand, however, this process takes time. We are advised that approval may not be granted before this supply issue is resolved.

Supply of 5 iu per mL (Pharmacode 2448211) available 

This supply constraint only affected oxytocin 10 iu per mL. There was enough stock of Oxytocin BNM 5 iu per mL to support treatment where a registered product is needed. 

Who to contact

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