COVID-19: Information for prescribers
We are aware of the pressure that all primary healthcare professionals are experiencing right now. Kia kaha and thank you for your work.
Last updated: 9 April 2020
On this page:
- Changes to access criteria
- We're listening to the experts
- Changes are temporary
- Ensuring continuity of medicine supply
- Personal protective equipment and medical devices
- Influenza vaccine
- Who to contact
We are making changes to ensure minimal interruption to access to health care for people and practical access to treatments as needed.
Approximately 10% of the 2000 funded medicines in New Zealand have Special Authorities, so PHARMAC is working through them to ensure that they're all fit for purpose while the health sector is responding to COVID-19.
The kinds of changes PHARMAC are making include:
- removing requirements for fixed timelines administering medicines in hospital settings (like infusions) to reduce the number of times a patient must go to hospital
- removing or reducing requirements for specific testing or scanning that can only be done in a hospital setting or by laboratories that are tied up with other work or that are otherwise impractical given current circumstances
- increasing access to some preventative treatments
- changing the requirements for applications to be made by certain types of specialists, so that any practitioner can make them.
Many people have contacted us with suggestions for changes we could make to support the health system and ensure people get the medicines they need.
The measures we're taking are temporary to provide reassurance and comfort, as well as uninterrupted treatment for many of New Zealand’s more vulnerable people. We intend to change the criteria back once health services have stabilised to a point where it becomes practical.
We all have a role to play in keeping medicines available for our community – people on regular medicines should always have enough for 1 to 2 weeks treatment.
Please encourage your patients to avoid stockpiling their medicines. Stockpiling could lead to someone else missing out.
Dispensing changed to monthly
We have limited dispensing of all funded medicines to one month's supply (or three months for oral contraceptives), since midnight 26 March 2020. There are no changes to the way prescriptions are written, people won’t need to visit their prescriber more frequently. This is consistent with steps taken in Australia.
PHARMAC does not fund PPE. PHARMAC is sourcing additional hand hygiene products used in hospitals. NZHP, working on behalf of the 20 DHBs, is taking the lead on ventilators, laboratory testing products and PPE.
PHARMAC secured 1.768 million doses of influenza vaccine for this flu season.
If you have any questions, email email@example.com
Last updated: 5 June 2020