Inside the Pharmaceutical Schedule
What is the Pharmaceutical Schedule?
The Pharmaceutical Schedule (the Schedule) is the list of all the medicines and therapeutic products that District Health Boards (DHBs) fund.
The Schedule lists medicines by chemical name (eg aspirin) and brand name (eg Ethics Aspirin). It lists the formulations, doses and subsidy price of the medicine, as well as any prescribing guidelines or access criteria.
The Schedule is divided into nine sections (A-I). The Schedule lists more than 4,500 pharmaceuticals that are dispensed in the community or contracted to be given in public hospitals at specified prices, and more than 14,000 hospital medical devices that DHBs may order.
How can I access the Schedule?
You can subscribe to receive free email alerts when a new electronic version is available.
The online Schedule lets you search for a medicine and find information about its subsidy status, or browse the Schedule by therapeutic group.
The Schedule is also integrated into some prescriber software systems.
How do I understand the listings?
Across the bottom of each page in the Schedule is a list of abbreviations and symbols as well as a glossary in the introductory section. The diagram overleaf explains how to read an entry.
We provide training to new prescribers on how to use the Schedule. If you have any questions about the Schedule or subsidised medicines, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explaining drug entries
The Pharmaceutical Schedule (Sections A to I) lists pharmaceuticals subsidised by the Government, the supplier’s price, the subsidy, and access conditions that may apply. The final price paid by DHBs may be less than the listed price, due to the presence of confidential rebates (refer to our Information Sheet Purchasing Medicines).
Section H includes the list of medicines that may be given in a public hospital, as well as those hospital medical devices that are subject to national contracts.
Who uses it?
The Schedule is a reference for all prescribers (doctors, specialists, midwives, nurses, etc) and other health professionals (such as pharmacists, medical libraries, professional bodies and support groups).
How often is it published?
The online version of the Schedule is updated around the 23rd of the month for the following month, ie if you search the online Schedule on 28 February, you'll see the results for March.
The hard copy Schedule comes out three times a year and Updates are produced monthly. The Schedule always needs to be read in conjunction with the latest Update. As they are cumulative, we recommend that users dispose of the previous Updates when they receive a new one.
The Schedule and Updates are produced as books (hard copy and PDF) and a database. The database is sent monthly to the companies that provide general practice and pharmacy software, to integrate Sections A to I into their systems so they contain up to date subsidy information.
A copy of every PDF is available on the website.
Pharmaceutical schedule example layout and definitions
Last updated: 11 March 2020