Philly-area women feeling shortage of some generic birth control brands

    Pharmacies in the Delaware Valley and beyond are reporting shortages of certain types of birth control pills.

    The shortages seem to be centered on four types of generic pills made by Teva Pharmaceuticals: Camrese, Cryselle, Ocella and Aviane. Area pharmacies report they haven’t been able to get shipments of some of these for weeks. Big chains CVS and Rite Aid also report sporadic shortages.

    Rob Frankil, pharmacy owner and head of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association, said he currently can’t get four different types of birth control pills, three of them Teva products.

    “Looks like there are some brands and some formulas that have back-order problems, not all brands,” Frankil said, looking up different brands on his computer system. “In many cases, it’s certain manufacturers and, in one case, one of the brand-name companies can’t get the product to market right now.” 

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    Sixteen-year-old Yael Dormont and her mother said when they called their pharmacy back in mid-September for a three-month supply of Cryselle for Dormont, they were told the pharmacy was out.

    “I had to call the doctor’s office to get a different prescription,” Yael said.

    This month, when the Bala Cynwyd teen called again, that second prescription, Ocella, was out.

    “They said they didn’t have the new prescription but they had one pack, rather than three packs, of the old one,” she said.

    A spokeswoman at Teva said there are “supply constraints” on Camrese, Cryselle, Ocella and she expects them to be available at pharmacies again in six weeks. She also said a fourth drug, Aviane, should be available in three weeks. She would not point to a specific cause of the shortage.

    Teva is the world’s largest generics manufacturer and has its North American headquarters in North Wales, Pa.

    Often, women can get a different generic version of their birth control pill with the same formula by talking to their pharmacist, Frankil said. If not, they may have to call their doctor to get their prescription switched.

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