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Glitch leads to shortage of contraceptive pill

Women across Northern Ireland have been left without supplies of the contraceptive pill because of manufacturing problems.

Many patients have been forced to see their doctor and change to another pill after stocks dried up in pharmacies across the province.

Drugs company MSD, manufacturers of the three contraceptive pills — Cerazette, Marvelon and Mercilon, apologised to women who had been left without the pill since October.

Cerazette, the most popular, is now back in stock but Marvelon and Mercilon will not be available until the end of the month.

Enniskillen GP Dr Michael Smyth said many of his patients used the Cerazette pill and he had been forced to prescribe alternatives in the past two months.

He said that Cerazette had a window of 12 hours for women to take their daily dose and still be protected whereas other progestogen-only pills only had a window of three hours.

“We had a number of women that were affected and we had to offer an alternative,” he said.

Pharmaceutical manufacturer MSD blamed the shortage on supply problems.

“MSD would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused,” a spokeswoman said.

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