20 Feb 2017

Pharmac's thinking about funding sanitary products

11:24 am on 20 February 2017

The Government is looking into whether it can subsidise sanitary products like pads and tampons. 

Pharmac is thinking about funding sanitary products

Pharmac is thinking about funding sanitary products Photo: 123rf

The New Zealand Government’s agency that decides on public funding for medications is considering whether to help cut the cost of tampons and pads, RNZ reports

Pharmac’s chief executive, Steffan Crausaz, said the agency was contacted about the issue late last year. 

In July, RNZ reported that students were skipping school or university, or using newspaper, telephone books or rags in place of sanitary products, which they couldn’t afford. 

Today, Crausaz said he was seeking advice on whether sanitary products fell within the boundaries  of items Pharmac is allowed to fund (medicines and therapeutic medical devices).

"Usually what we would do is look towards products that are regulated by Medsafe ... We can go further than that for certain items. So, for example, we have funded sunscreen for particular situations," he said. 

In some countries, like Ireland, tampons are VAT (their version of GST) exempt. In certain US states, you can also buy tax free sanitary products, according to the BBC.

Crausaz told RNZ it was too early to say how Pharmac could go about funding feminine hygiene products. 


In the meantime, we've come up with a list of interesting tampon alternatives for your reading pleasure. 


Mensez is a bit like when you accidentally pull a tampon out of your bag thinking it's lipstick, but the other way around.

Mensez is a bit like when you accidentally pull a tampon out of your bag thinking it's lipstick, but the other way around. Photo: The Wireless / Luke McPake



Picture this: It’s saturday afternoon, a blow fly is buzzing in a circle around your bedroom, the windows are shut and it’s 25 degrees outside. A crack of sunlight is shining through your curtains, hitting you directly in the eye, which you’re desperately not wanting to open. Your head is throbbing, your throat is crusty from too many cigarettes and you are sweating alcohol through your pores. You need to pee but you can’t move. The phone rings - it’s mum - you fumble for it among an array of sheets and cats, before finally answering: 

“Mrrrrr,” you say. 

The noise comes out your nose, because your lips are stuck together by a layer of hangover crust that has formed some time between you passing out and now. The crust is the colour of merlot. 

Now picture this: The same crust holding together your lady lips down below so your period can’t get out! 

“Does such a magical product exist,” you say? 


Mensez deleted their explanation of how their fanny lipstick works, but luckily we took a screenshot of the cached Facebook post.

Mensez deleted their explanation of how their fanny lipstick works, but luckily we took a screenshot of the cached Facebook post. Photo: screenshot

We say yes! Introducing Mensez: The feminine lipstick. Just apply to down below lady lips and your period stays inside until you next visit the little ladies room to sprinkle your tinkle. 

[Edit: Mensez have now deleted their Facebook page, but luckily we took some screenshots, and you can check their website, so you know we're not lying to you about this fabulous product.]



Here’s a novel idea. Let’s save some taxpayer money and just teach women to hold in their periods until they get to the toilet. 

Radical, I know, but the idea was patented by British child genius Ryan Williams, who thinks that women should just hold their periods in their bladder, just like they do with urine.

Some people think Williams needs a biology lesson. We think he needs a medal for 11/10 good ideas skills. 



Yes that’s a good idea, Just knit, sew or crochet a tampon, then chuck it in the washing machine and use it again. There are patterns on the internet, just like how there are probably instructions for making nail bombs. What could possibly go wrong? 


Let’s call them Rely tampons, because you can rely on them! Let’s make them out of a material with a name that’s hard to say, let’s make them so they can absorb 20 times their weight, and then blossom into a magical flower cup to catch the last of the pesky blood! What could possibly go wrong? 


I'm sure having women stay at home for a week every 28 days at no cost whatsoever to the taxpayer is the best idea I have ever had, and I just thought of it on the spot right now. Wow. The economy will be fine.

Ladies! Stay at home, and make sure you have regular baths, drink green tea and eat chocolate, because that’s what you are supposed to do when you have your period. That way you won’t have to spend money on tampons and you won’t have to bother your male colleagues with your pesky, emotional mood swings. If you really need to go out - perhaps to buy more green tea or chocolate - slide a bit of toilet paper between your lower lady flaps and hurry - you have about 20 minutes depending on flow.