Nationwide shortage of contraceptive pill

Stocks of Levlen are running low across the country.
Stocks of Levlen are running low across the country. Photo credit: Getty

There is a nationwide shortage of the most commonly used contraceptive pill in New Zealand.

Levlen 30ED, the most popular subsidised oral contraceptive, and Ava 30ED are both in short supply.

Pharmac director of operations Sarah Fitt said the agency is "actively managing a supply issue".

Levlen 30ED is replacing the Ava brand of the contraceptive pull as a result of the PHARMAC tender process.

Ms Fitt said Levlen stock has arrived in New Zealand and will be distributed to pharmacies by Monday.

"The issue is a result of a transition from one supplier to another," she said.

"The incumbent supplier ran out of stock of their brand before the new supplier was due to begin providing the product. The new supplier has been able to expedite stock to New Zealand and it will be available from Monday 4 December."

Family Planning national medical advisor Dr Christine Roke told Newshub she is aware of pharmacies being advised to only supply one month worth of the pill at a time - instead of the usual three to six months.

She said Levlen is the contraceptive pill most often used because it has low risks of blood clotting.

Dr Roke said people who are affected by the shortage could use another type of subsidised contraceptive or use condoms until the supply is restored.