Changes to how prescriptions are filled
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Posted March 27, 2020
Media Release: Ministry of Health, PHARMAC
To ensure everybody continues to have access to the prescription medication they need, PHARMAC are temporarily changing the amount pharmacists can dispense at any one time.
Prescriptions will be limited for all funded medicines to a 1-month supply, or a 3-month supply for oral contraceptives.
You will not have to visit your doctor or other prescriber more often.You will not have to pay any additional charges for filling additional repeat prescriptions, the $5 co-pay for the first time will cover you for your repeats.
People will continue to be able to fill prescriptions at their local pharmacy, though you may have to visit more frequently than previously. Many pharmacies are operating delivery options for vulnerable customers.
PHARMAC information: We know that the change to monthly dispensing means you may need to go to your community pharmacy more often, but this measure is meant to help ensure everyone can continue to access the medicines they need.
You will not have to pay more for picking up your monthly repeats. The $5 co-payment for the first dispensing on the prescription remains.
You can have your prescriptions picked up by someone else if you are in isolation or have other mobility issues. Some pharmacies may also deliver your prescription. You will need to discuss the cost for this service with your pharmacy.
There are no changes to the way prescriptions are written, you won’t need to visit your prescriber more often.
Despite there being no significant medicine shortages in New Zealand, stockpiling is putting a major strain on supply chains.
Unlike supermarkets that can re-stock from New Zealand manufacturers, medicines are mostly sourced from overseas suppliers. This makes it more difficult to re-stock quickly.
We are moving to monthly dispensing to ensure remaining medicines stocks in wholesalers, distributors and community pharmacies are appropriately managed.
We need to ensure that every New Zealander will continue to have access to the medicines they need and that vulnerable communities don’t miss out.