HRC Takes Action on Injectable Estrogen Shortage

HRC is deeply concerned about the potential impact of a shortage of injectable estrogen on transgender women and others who utilize the drug. This shortage exist for both Delestrogen and its generic counterpart estradiol valerate.  Because hormone therapy is such a critical component of many transgender individual’s gender affirmation process, lack of access to these vital medications has the potential to pose a serious health threat to transgender women.

The shortage began 18 months ago when the 40 mg dosage of injectable estrogen went on the drug shortage list and has not since returned to the marketplace.  This is the highest dosage available and the one most frequently prescribed to transgender women.  Doctors then began doubling up on dosages of the 20 mg injectables, which have become scarce this summer.  While estrogen in pill or patch form continue to remain available, the injectable form is preferred by many trans women and health professionals are concerned that these women may turn to unregulated sources such as the street or black market online pharmacies that ship drugs from other countries.

HRC reached out to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials to express concern about the shortage and to learn what the agency is currently doing to address the ongoing problem. In addition, HRC partnered with the National Center for Transgender Equality on a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf urging that the agency expedite review of information necessary to approve the drug and bring the shortage to an end.

In the revised version of Creating Equal Access to Quality Health Care for Transgender Patients: Transgender-Affirming Hospital Policies released in May of this year, HRC led efforts to add a recommended policy to ensure that patients maintain access to their hormone therapy when admitted to a hospital.  In addition, because of the importance of hormone prescriptions for transgender people, HRC included a special section on transgender medical needs in its new resource guide for pharmacists and pharmacy staff on providing LGBTQ-inclusive care and services.

Read more about HRC’s work on health care here.