Pharmac rejects request to fund tampons, pads

  • 19/04/2017

The government's drug-buying agency has rejected a request to fund women's hygiene products.

Pharmac had been considering an application by a private citizen in 2016 to fund the items, following reports some women were resorting to rags and old clothing as an alternative.

But its director of operations, Sarah Fitt, says the application has now been turned down because the products don't treat a particular medical need.

"After full consideration, our view is that this application does not fall within Pharmac's scope because it does not show a link to therapeutic benefits related to a health need," she said in a statement.

But the agency would still consider any future applications for sanitary products where there was evidence of a specific health need, she said.

Ms Fitt told RNZ Pharmac had taken the position that menstruation was a "normal bodily function" rather than a health need.

"It wasn't easy. We spent a lot of time and there was a lot of discussion carefully considering whether there was a therapeutic benefit and whether there was a health need," she said.

Last year the Salvation Army helped launch a campaign with Countdown seeking donations of sanitary items for vulnerable women.