17 May 2024

Pharmac too slow to act over HRT shortage: doctors

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 17 May 2024
Hormone replacement therapy patch

Photo: BMJ

Doctors specialising in women's health say the shortage of hormone replacement therapy patches is getting worse, and Pharmac has been too slow to act.

Currently two of the most popular dosage patches - used to mitigate the symptoms of estrogen deficiency - are unavailable nationwide, leaving women shopping around different pharmacies, and some having to pay for extra patches to reach their required prescribed dose.

Pharmac limits funding to two patches per week but says it is reconsidering this restriction, as well as moving to fund alternatives such as estrogen gels. The funding agency says demand for HRT patches has more than doubled in the last three and the shortage is likely to continue into next year.

Wellingtonian Ella Boliva, who is on HRT, describes the difficulty she is having of accessing the medication. Kathryn also speaks with Auckland endocrinologist with ERH Associates, Dr Megan Ogilvie, and Tauranga based menopause doctor Linda Dear.