Decision to fully fund Mercilon 28 for oral contraception

Decision

What we’re doing

We’re pleased to announce a decision to fully fund Mercilon 28 for oral contraception. 

Organon (New Zealand) Limited’s Mercilon 28 brand of ethinyloestradiol 20 mcg with desogestrel 150 mcg tablets and 7 inert tablets will be fully funded from 1 April 2021.  

We estimate that approximately 900 people will benefit in the first year increasing to up to 1,300 people after five years.  

What does this mean for people?

From 1 April 2021 Mercilon 28 will be fully funded providing an additional option for people requiring combined oral contraceptives. 

This decision removes the part charge and the need for Special Authority applications for full subsidy. The list and subsidy price will change. 

Any changes to the original proposal?

This decision was subject to a consultation letter dated 26 February 2021.

We thank those who provided consultation feedback. No changes have been made as a result of the consultation feedback. 

Who we think will be most interested

  • People requiring contraceptive services and their whānau
  • General practitioners, sexual health physicians, gynaecologists, nurses, pharmacists and other clinicians and health professionals involved in providing contraceptive services.
  • Hospital and community pharmacies, DHBs, pharmaceutical suppliers and wholesalers 

Details about this decision

Funded access to ethinyloestradiol 20 mcg with desogestrel 150 mcg tablets and 7 inert tablets (Brand name: Mercilon 28) will be amended in Section B of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 April 2021 at the following price and subsidy (ex-manufacturer, excluding GST): 

Chemical

Formulation

Brand

Pack size

New price and subsidy

Ethinyloestradiol with desogestrel

Tab 20 mcg with desogestrel 150 mcg and 7 inert tablets

Mercilon 28

84

$10.00

Mercilon 28 will have protection from delisting and subsidy reduction until 31 March 2024. 

Our response to what you told us

We’re really grateful for the time people took to respond to this consultation. A summary of the main themes raised in feedback and our responses to the feedback received are set out below.  

Theme

Comment

Responders were very supportive of Mercilon 28 being fully funded. There was strong support to have an alternate fully funded combined oral contraceptive option available for people.

We appreciate the responses in support of Mercilon 28 being fully funded.

Education and support should be provided as part of the transition, for those changing to Mercilon 28 from another oral contraceptive.  

We agree and consider that prescribers and pharmacists are best placed to help people change to Mercilon 28 from another oral contraceptive.

Other contraceptive options should be fully funded as well.

We will continue to consider funding other contraceptives and improve the available options, including non-oral contraceptives, where appropriate. 

Some responders noted the risk of VTE compared to the currently funded products.

We consider that prescribers are best placed to assess the risk and benefit for each contraceptive and determine the most appropriate product for each person. 

Some studies suggest that people using low-dose combined oral contraceptives with third generation progestogens, such as desogestrel, have an increased risk of venous thromboembolism compared to those using low-dose combined oral contraceptives with progestogen levonorgestrel. 

More information can be found on Medsafe approved datasheet

Questions about this decision?

If you have any questions about this decision, you can email us at enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz; or call our toll free number (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday) on 0800 660 050.