Thursday, 31 January 2019

Fun studies for someone else to do: contraceptive access

"While current dispensing restrictions limit how often a person can collect their Levlen ED prescription, this should not stop patients from accessing their medicine or taking it as directed.

"We thank pharmacies and wholesalers for their assistance in helping to manage this stock issue and apologise for any inconvenience," Fitt explained.

Concerns about the availability of Levlen in New Zealand were raised earlier this month.

Recently, pharmacies had been asked to dispense the pill in one-month courses, rather than the three-month courses usually given out.

But on Friday that request will become mandatory as officials step up efforts to maintain sufficient supply until the medication was restocked in late March.
So a fun Masters thesis for somebody: use regional variation in the timing here to check the extent to which the fixed costs of going to the dispensary affects both the likelihood of scripts being filled and unplanned pregnancies. Prescriptions like this should be in Pharmac data accessible in IDI.

I'm not sure what you could do with this second natural experiment though, noted in the same story:
In April, medical professionals were asked to ration prescriptions of Durex condoms for men with large penises, as increased demand contributed to a global shortage.

Durex Confidence 56mm condoms and Gold Knight Larger were the Pharmac-funded brands affected by dwindling supply.

At the time, Pharmac said the Durex condoms would be temporarily unavailable in New Zealand, but the brand's five other varieties in differing sizes were available.

In July, a disagreement between the brand's owner and its Indian partner cut up to 60 per cent of supply.
Of course, condoms remain accessible (at a somewhat higher cost) at the supermarket; it's just the subsidised ones that are short. No non-prescription options for birth control pills.

The Stuff comments thread is more amusing than most.

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