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Pharmac rejects request to fund pads, tampons for Kiwi women

The government-funded agency has turned down a application on the subject.

Pharmac, the government funded drug buying agency, has rejected a private citizen application to cut the cost of sanitary pads and tampons for Kiwi women.

The agency received an application to help reduce the cost of sanitary items in February. However the resulting investigation deemed the products to be outside of what Pharmac can legally fund.

"After full consideration, our view is that this application does not fall within Pharmac's scope because it does not show a link to therapeutic benefits related to a health need," Pharmac's director of operations Sarah Fitt said in a statement.

"Pharmac remains open to considering any future applications for sanitary products where there is evidence of specific health needs."

The Salvation Army's head of social services, Pam Waugh, told RNZ she wished Pharmac could be more flexible, as many young women who can't afford to buy the products were contracting infections after re-using pads and tampons.

"I would challenge the belief that they don't think [sanitary products] are therapeutic or meet a health need," she told RNZ.

"That affects their future, their future ability to have children, to be well and to not be weighed down by illness."

The government last week announced it would give $50,000 to the children's charity, KidsCan, to supply schools with sanitary products.

"This is a practical way we can support young women who come from families in need," Minister for Women, Paula Bennett said.