26 Jul 2010

Pharmac to fund contraceptive implant

9:42 pm on 26 July 2010

Drug-funding agency Pharmac has announced it will fund a contraceptive implant for women that lasts up to five years.

The agency expects about 30,000 women will use the Jadelle implants, which are small rods inserted just below the skin in the arm.

Pharmac acting medical director Dilky Rasiah says the implants will suit both women who are not ready to have children and those who have completed their families, but do not want to be surgically sterilised.

Dr Rasiah says the implants are more convenient because patients do not have to remember to take a daily pill.

However, the implants can have some side-effects similar to the contraceptive pill, including prolonged menstrual periods, acne and weight gain.

Dr Rasiah says the implants will cost taxpayers about the same as the pill.