Why the contraceptive pill ‘ was, and is now available again

After more than three months of absence, the birth control pills back in the pharmacy are available. How could the supply suddenly stop and how can this be prevented?

At the beginning of september, there was suddenly the message: the contraceptive pill is on. Women who, sometimes in a slight panic, to their pharmacy, cycled, got the confirmation: the pill with the active ingredient ethinylestradiol/levonorgestrel was not delivered. The reason was production problems at two manufacturers, so the pills do not meet the stipulated requirements had been met.

The raw materials and the birth control pills themselves are in countries like China and India. The wholesalers buy their drugs from manufacturers and deliver at the request of the pharmacies, leaving it up to the patient to deliver. Also have the wholesalers own a stock. That is almost always good.

The pill is the most commonly used contraceptive in the Netherlands

Where in the first instance, there is a scarcity of a few weeks was spoken, the delivery of the pill now after three months again. That is-according to Ludwig Castelijns, director of the country’s largest pillengroothandel Mosadex, by the vulnerability of the market. “The manufacturers are from the West to the low-wage countries are drawn. So supply is very concentrated hit, and therefore also vulnerable. If something goes wrong, notice the entire chain.”

The contraceptive pill was, in 1962, was introduced and came in 1964 in the Netherlands. Since 1997 you must first pass the doctor for a prescription. The enjoy sex is with 1.7 million users high in our country . The pill is up to 30 percent of the most commonly used contraceptive method, according to figures from Rutgers from 2017. In the age group 18 to 24 years, 63 percent of the women the pill. The pill is only for women under the age of 21 will be reimbursed.

Since september, there are delivery problems with the contraceptive pill in the Netherlands

Urgent letter of the minister of Bruins

Also minister Bruins (Medical Care) had to content himself with the matter in question, after general practitioners, pharmacists and some 55 women’s groups to him, in an urgent letter asked to do something. “Women have the right to the use of an adequate, effective, and affordable birth control”, they wrote. Also, the group is “gravely concerned about the ongoing and unnecessary shortage of the most commonly used contraceptive pill in the Netherlands”. Bruins said in a comment in October that women temporarily a replacement pill can take. However, they are not always reimbursed.

The authors also pointed out the fact that, in Belgium and Germany no shortages of pills were. Castelijns has an explanation for. “At the time that the production issue was tackled, there was a high demand from different countries. The manufacturer looked at which country in the most favourable way is to first to deliver, and is there to money looked. The netherlands will pay a low price for branded medicines. That the contraceptive pill also. So was the Netherlands on the back and given other countries their delivery earlier,” said Castelijns.

“It is not realistic to expect to be there at rock bottom prices high quality medications remain available for Dutch patients”
Minister Bruins

Also minister Bruins punctual this issue in his response to the urgent letter. He called it “not realistic to expect to be there at rock bottom prices high quality medications remain available for the Dutch patient.”

Mosadex Group supplies approximately 4 in 10 Dutch people of their medicines. Castelijns explains that 95 percent of the drugs sufficient stock. Then came the contraceptive pill on top of it. The director would like to see more attention to the deficits of the 600 to 800 drugs, where he chronic shortage of. “There are more and more delivery problems and by the government project.”

‘Required stock for manufacturers’

Castelijns calls for a mandatory inventory for manufacturers, where the government must ensure. Also the fact that the purchase of medicines, the responsibility of health insurers has become, is, according to the director. “They buy drugs, on the basis of price, not availability. The government should give them their responsibility.”

Minister Bruins responded in early december on this issue. He wants to be in conversation with the sector about “the holding of a certain stock”. Also, he said that “if pharmacists have a stock had an order of magnitude of three months, we this situation is not had”.

Castelijns stressed that the whole process around the production of medicines is complex. “Manufacturers have jaarplanningen. In practice, you are already a half a year in advance of your shipments to the Netherlands to sign. There may be something in between, but the production capacity is fixed.” That is the reason why almost all manufacturers have sufficient stock. “Also, the pharmaceutical companies in the Netherlands have stock of ready-made packaging, but that is less. There must be attention to his.”

Over a few weeks, the situation is back to normal

Meanwhile, we have pharmacies in our country the pill again delivered, received, confirms Castelijns. But there are many nazendingen that are yet to come. If customers pill have ordered because this was not present, is there a order to be sent: a redirection. The Mosadex-wholesale has now 109.000 packaging received and half of the submitted nazendingen received. According to minister Brown takes a few weeks before the situation is normalized.


  • Have you suffered from the limited supply of birth control pills? Late in the NUjij-comments know what you meant and how you may have resolved.

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