Shortage of norethisterone-containing pills in Australia: Advice for GPs


July/August 2020

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) advises:

Consumers and health professionals are advised that there is a shortage of oral contraceptive pills containing the combination ethinylestradiol and norethisterone.

The affected products are:

  • Brevinor – norethisterone 0.5 mg and ethinylestradiol 35 micrograms
  • Norimin – norethisterone 0.5 mg and ethinylestradiol 35 micrograms
  • Brevinor-1 – norethisterone 1 mg and ethinylestradiol 35 micrograms
  • Norimin-1 – norethisterone 1 mg and ethinylestradiol 35 micrograms.

All four products are sponsored by Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd.

Pfizer has advised the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) the shortage of these products is due to manufacturing issues and is expected to continue until mid-October 2020 and early December 2020, depending on the product. Further information about the shortage is available on the TGA’s Medicine Shortage Reports Database.

Meanwhile, SPHERE (NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women in Primary Care) have released a statement:

A global shortage of contraceptive pills containing the progestogen contrnorethisterone (NET) has led to shortages in Australia since March 2020. The reason for the shortages, as provided by the manufacturer Pfizer, is ‘’manufacturing delays’’ as the company states it is upgrading engineering on packaging lines and implementing additional packaging lines to rectify the shortages.

At the time of writing, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) website indicates that the pills will become available in November-December 2020, however, there may be additional COVID-19-related delays.

By J Pope

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