Cape Town – A shortage of Depo-Testosterone has left many transgender people in despair, as they were cut of from their medication without notice.
Depo-Testosterone is the hormone replacement therapy used by transgender people, who are medically transitioning from female to male.
The therapy has to be consistent and taken for the rest of one’s life.
Transgender activist Seth Deacon said there was little communication about the shortage.
“It’s a big issue because any break in the treatment affects hormones and they dictate everything and a person’s emotional state, it’s a difficult thing. There are alternatives but those are more expensive and not everyone can afford the alternatives.”
Deacon said they were planning a meeting for later this week where some questions hopefully could be answered.
“We think this is an initial way to advocate and speed up or find alternative and thinking about the future.
“I found out last year that fem-trans people also experienced shortages, and they had to just wait until it was sorted.
“So we are trying to get to campaign and get different people with expertise, and get as many trans people together in terms of advocacy.”
Deacon said the medication was crucial in the therapy of transgender people and that an abrupt stop could cause a setback.
“There is the potential for the reappearance of periods and, in this exciting time, there is fear of progress being halted or reversed.
“It’s quite a decision to decide to go through this, so something like this is quite concerning.”
He said it was frustrating that such a huge company, that is the only producer of the drug, was failing customers.
In a statement, Pfizer said it hoped to resume stocking by the end of this month.
“There is currently a short-term interruption of supply of Depo-Testosterone in South Africa due to circumstances outside of Pfizer’s control.”
“We fully recognise the importance of the consistent availability of Depo-Testosterone to patients and are actively working with the Regulatory Authority to meet any urgent medical needs.
“We recommend that patients speak to a healthcare professional about alternative treatments.”