SA transgender community again faces a shortage of hormone depo-testosterone

cropped shot of young transgender man with pill and glass of water sitting on couch

South Africa is again experiencing a stockout of the hormone depo-testosterone commonly known as “T”, which is widely used by transgender men and transmasculine people to increase testosterone levels in their bodies. 

As reported by the Mail & Guardian, these stockouts date back to as far as December 2018 and have even resulted in a public march to create awareness. “T” is produced by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

A person using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) usually experiences gender dysphoria, according to Health24, when one’s sex does not align with their gender physically and therefore many would opt to use sex-specific hormones to affirm their gender. 

When not taken, therefore, the lack of T in one’s body can have “devastating effects because it can lead to mental health issues and in some cases, even suicide”. 

“My anxiety has definitely increased as I’m nervous to run out of T,” an individual named Seth told Health-e in a recent interview. “It has been a huge stress factor to try and find before all pharmacies run out.”

“It’s honestly really disheartening that Pfizer has done nothing to help trans people as well as the fact that most people don’t even know that it’s happening especially since this happened not so long ago,“ he added.

While pharmacies finally received stock again during March, the relief across the transgender community was short-lived, however, as South Africa now once again faces a shortage.

Speaking to Health-e, Pfizer’s communication and media manager Charmaine Motloung says that the short-term interruption of the supply of the injection in South Africa happened recently.

“However, we resumed supply of the product to distributors from the 10th September and therefore expect pharmacies to receive stock upon request,” he promised.

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