What's in a Name? USAID and GHSC-PSM introduce the first generic injectable contraceptive to the global market

Photo credit: GHSC-PSM/Irene Alenga

For the past 40 years, the two largest public sector buyers of contraceptives globally – USAID and UNFPA – have used a single source to procure depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate intramuscular injectable (DMPA-IM), a three-month injectable contraceptive.

This method is not only the most popular and widely available, but it was also one of the most expensive methods because of the lack of a quality-assured generic option.

More than 50 million women worldwide use injectable contraceptives to prevent pregnancy, and in 2018 there was a global supply shortage.

First deliveries of the generic DMPA-IM arrived in Malawi and were available to patients beginning in the second quarter of 2019.

The USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project successfully averted stockouts in all USAID-supported countries thanks to a strategy of utilizing its long-term agreement with the supplier and optimizing warehouse capacity to keep sufficient buffer stocks in country. However, the situation was not sustainable and the risk of relying on a single manufacturer remained.

DEPO-PROVERA is the brand name for DMPA-IM. Photo credit: GHSC-PSM

To address potential shortages in the future, GHSC-PSM collaborated with the Global Health Supply Chain Program-Quality Assurance (GHSC-QA) project to develop an innovative quality assurance approach to identify and validate the addition of a second manufacturer. In March 2019, GHSC-PSM added a new pharmaceutical manufacturer to the list of approved suppliers. Diversification of the supply base is always beneficial for market competition and supply security but is particularly beneficial for the contraceptives market.

Family planning counselors in Rwanda, Madagascar and Guinea review available FP/RH methods with patients so they can choose the one that best suits their needs. Photo credit (clockwise from top): GHSC-PSM/Bobby Neptune, GHSC-PSM/Lan Andrian, GHSC-PSM/Youssouf Bah.

This calculated approach is reshaping the market for DMPA-IM. By leveraging an existing contract, GHSC-PSM reduced the unpredictability of lead times. Furthermore, GHSC-PSM has saved more than $1 million to date on procurement of the generic brand contraceptive.

Adding a new supplier devoted exclusively to reproductive healthcare and offering affordable generic contraceptives at international quality standards has been a game changer.

Women now have a greater choice in selecting a contraceptive that meets their needs for delaying, spacing, or limiting pregnancy.

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Photo credit: GHSC-PSM/Farmhouse



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