LIUS funding big win for New Zealand women, says College

31 October 2019

The College welcomes PHARMAC’s decision to fund contraceptive devices Mirena and Jaydess, making them available for more women from 1 November 2019.

PHARMAC estimates this new funding announcement will benefit around 21,000 New Zealand women.

The College received a significant amount of member feedback regarding the benefits for women who did not fit the current funding criteria, and in response prepared a compelling submission to PHARMAC advocating that it be made more widely available.

College Medical Director Dr Bryan Betty says the College’s voice was influential and powerful and has been used to achieve a positive outcome which will benefit many New Zealanders.

"While I am really happy that the Mirena device is now available to all women who request it, it's not the end of the story,” says Dr McGinn (College Fellow and campaigner)

“PHARMAC’s move is a big step forward, something we’ve been asking for years,” says Bryan.

While the physical device is now fully funded, women will still need to pay for administrative costs related to having the IUD inserted or removed, such as seeing a doctor or nurse.

“The fact that fees for insertion or removal is not nationally [funded] could present an equity issue,” says Bryan.

From 1 November 2019, GPs can prescribe either Mirena or Jaydess for any appropriate use.

Jaydess is commonly prescribed only for contraception, whereas Mirena is used for contraception as well as other indications – such as the management of heavy menstrual bleeding, endometriosis and endometrial hyperplasia without atypia.

There will be no change to the current funded brand of LIUS 52mg.

The supplier will continue to be responsible for providing comprehensive insertion and removal training for clinicians nationwide.

East Auckland GP and College Fellow, Dr Orna McGinn is also pleased, having brought this issue into the spotlight with a petition that received more than 4,500 signatures –but she has highlighted there is more work to do.

“PHARMAC’s move is a big step forward, something we’ve been asking for years,” says Bryan.

"While I am really happy that the Mirena device is now available to all women who request it, it's not the end of the story,” says Orna.

"Funding needs to be granted for the insertion of the device as well. We need to ensure that there are no barriers for the women who need it.

"Contraception is not just a women's issue, it's a basic public health measure that can make difference to our country in many different ways," says Orna. "The battle isn't over yet.”

GP Pulse caught up with Orna earlier on this month when the funding was first announced, read the full article.