Propofol is a sedative used in critical care and in general surgery.
Internationally, propofol is in short supply. PHARMAC has worked with a number of suppliers to ensure we have enough supply to meet demand here in Aotearoa New Zealand. Locally, we have no current shortage of propofol.
As Aotearoa New Zealand moves down alert levels, there will be an increase in elective surgery, increasing demand for propofol.
Internationally, risks to ongoing supply remain, and therefore please exercise caution
Conserving propofol supplies
We ask that clinicians:
- use alternatives to propofol where clinically appropriate
- share with us ways you and your colleagues are conserving propofol, so that we can share these ideas with others where appropriate.
- do not stockpile propofol. Stockpiling affects equitable access to stock across Aotearoa New Zealand and makes it very difficult for suppliers and PHARMAC to forecast future demand.
What clinicians are already doing
Some DHBs have considered and/or implemented measures to conserve propofol stock for use where there is no suitable alternative. These measures include:
- minimising the use of total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA) where possible
- reserving larger vial sizes of propofol for use in the ICU setting
- looking at alternatives to propofol where appropriate (such as morphine with midazolam in ICU)
- adjuncts to reduce propofol requirements (such as ketamine, fentanyl, dexmedetomidine, remifentanil, clonidine).
We are conscious that ANZCA has guidelines that caution against the use of a single ampoule or vial for more than one patient unless certain conditions are met.
Some international clinical groups have developed guidance to help manage demand for anaesthetic medicines during the global response to COVID-19.
What PHARMAC’s doing
We have secured a supply of propofol for patients in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are also actively working with suppliers of propofol to ensure continuity of supply of this critical medicine in the future.
Who to contact
If you have any questions about propofol, email email@example.com
Last updated: 29 May 2020