Pharmac indicates interest to fund more oestradiol treatments to relieve supply issue

Media release Medicines

Te Pātaka Whaioranga - Pharmac is planning to issue a competitive process for supply of oestradiol transdermal products in New Zealand.

“Today we have issued a Future Procurement Opportunity for oestradiol transdermal products,” says Pharmac’s Chief Medical Officer Dr David Hughes. “This is an early stage in government procurement processes which signals to suppliers that we are getting closer to considering funding more products. It gives time to the suppliers to prepare their pricing proposals.”

“We know that the supply issue of oestradiol patches has caused stress and frustration for New Zealanders over the past few years. Demand in New Zealand and globally for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has continued to surpass the available supply, with suppliers reporting extraordinary increases in demand for oestradiol patches.” 

“We understand that people have had to switch to alternative brands, and have taken the time to seek out whatever they could access which is frustrating and distressing.”

The Future Procurement Opportunity shared today indicates the plan to provide people with a greater range of oestradiol presentations and to help alleviate supply pressures. Any funding decisions would be subject to the future bids received from suppliers and available budget

“We are proactively considering this competitive process as we have heard from our clinical advisors and clinicians that a gel product could be a suitable alternative alongside oestradiol patches. To date we have not received any funding applications for these, nor have suppliers applied to Medsafe for approved use in Aotearoa. We will be working closely with both of these parties throughout this process."

“At this stage, we have also included the oestradiol patches in our draft 2023/24 Annual Invitation to Tender(external link), but we want to hear from suppliers now if there are other ways they’d be interested in working with us for this process.”

“We have been doing everything we can to support the oestradiol patch supply issue, and we are pleased to be at this stage of providing an update – and hope for people requiring treatment. We would like to reassure people, while we are considering this procurement process, we will continue to take every step we can to support the supply of currently funded treatments,” concludes Dr Hughes.

As the procurement activity progresses Pharmac will share more information with interested healthcare practitioners and with the wider public on our website.