The Union health ministry will soon introduce the injectable contraceptive depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) in the public health system under the National Family Planning Programme (NFPP) as the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), in its latest meeting held on August 18, 2015, has finally given its nod for the same.
DMPA is a hormonal injectable contraceptive having depot medroxyprogesterone. The sustained level of edroxyprogesterone acetate present in the injection suppresses ovulation in the women. It can protect against pregnancy for a period of 11-14 weeks. DMPA, when administered at the recommended dose to women every 3 months, inhibits the secretion of gonadotropins which, in turn, prevents follicular maturation and ovulation and results in endometrial thinning. These actions produce its contraceptive effect.
Even though the health ministry has been making repeated efforts for the last some years to introduce the injectable contraceptive DMPA in the public health system under the NFPP, the DTAB has not been giving its nod for its introduction on safety concerns.
In the previous meeting in April this year, after refusing to give its nod, the DTAB had asked the department of family welfare to consult the leading gynaecologists in the country.
Accordingly, the National Consultative Meeting on Expanding the Basket of Choice in Family Planning was held on July 24, 2015. The co-chairs Dr. Sunita Mittal and Dr. Sudha Prasad moderated and facilitated the session and a consensus was arrived at that the injectables are a suitable and feasible method for introduction in the program. The studies of ICMR with Net-EN and Mesigyna injectables has been conducted successfully in India and the product has been in the private sector with the concurrence of DCGI for the last 20 years with no untoward events reported, a pilot is therefore not required before including it in the basket of choice under FP.
It was also felt that injectable is an important contraceptive method and much in demand by the community, therefore it should be introduced pan India, at all levels up to the sub-centres. Restricting its availability only up to higher level like the medical colleges and district hospitals will defeat the purpose of its introduction as a beneficiary.
The DTAB after deliberations agreed to the introduction of the injectable contraceptive DMPA in the public health system under National Family Planning Programme.