So, Pfizer, the only producer of Depo Testosterone (testosterone cypionate), the testosterone used by at least 80% of the trans, non-binary and intersex population of South Africa, has “run out” of the product. It is the most used T in South Africa because it is the cheapest.
So switching testosterone types is not an option for most of us. Switching testosterone also comes with a host of problems. The other forms of T are not comparable to Depo T in terms of chemical make up. It would be like switching from Prozac to Cipramil.
This has HUGE health implications for us. It’s a hormone, so controls a multitude of body functions. It controls moods, and with a large number of trans people struggling with depression, this has serious health implications.
Then there are the masculinising implications: we would begin to menstruate again, lose muscle, have fat redistribution occur – all things that cause us unbearable dysphoria.
Pfizer has said they will have stock end of February again. This means that we will miss 4 shots (those that tried to fill prescriptions earlier have missed up to 8 doses). 4 Shots that balance our entire bodies’ chemistry. 4 Shots that make life livable.
Testosterone is a chronic medication. The trans community is in a panic. This is completely fucking unacceptable.
Please share and tag Pfizer in Sandton. Let’s put pressure on them to remedy this national healthcare failure.
Re the Depo Testosterone shortage:
So I’ve just spoken to a friend in Australia. They stopped producing Depo T early last year. He had to change testosterone types 4 times last year when the supply of Depo, Sustanon and Primoteston ceased. He is currently on Reandron.
He’s also in the medical industry and gave the perspective of the pharmaceutical company:
Bottom line is that pharma has not caught up with legal and human rights progress for trans people. They budget for the production of meds based on what Drs prescribe. This budget it drawn up 5-10 years in advance. Which means that they budgeted for HRT according to state of transgender issues 5-10 years ago and they have been caught unprepared for the suddenly increasing demand for testosterone by trans people.
Answering this demand is therefore not as simple as producing more T. They not only have budget constraints, they also place their emphasis on global crises like ARVs and insulin. Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are also on the rise. Also, production of more Depo T is not as easy as it sounds. They need to go through the process of testing the new batch of product and go through the red tape of ensuring that the product is up to medical standards.
So, it’s a case of supply and demand, but with processes that make supplying the demand a difficult thing.
Of course the good news, with pharma obviously being a money-making enterprise first and foremost, is that they are aware that there is a lot of money to be made off HRT and pharma giants will push to be the biggest supplier.
In the short-term, this means that we in South Africa will have to change to Nebido or Sustanon until the supply of Depo T is fast-tracked. This will, of course, be a huge finanial issue for the majority of the trans population, but we need to be aware that this kind of thing happens globally.
So, basically, pharma has to catch up with the increase in trans patients and the right to healthcare that has been granted by the World Health Organisation.