COVID-19: Special Authority and NPPA approvals extended
Special Authorities, NPPA and other exceptional circumstances approvals that were due to expire on 31 March or 30 April 2020 have been extended for 3 months.
On this page:
- COVID-19 response
- What funding applications does this cover
- Information for health professionals
- What are Special Authorities
- Other changes to Special Authorities
- More information
- Who to contact
Many health professionals have asked us to automatically extend all Special Authorities. Generally, there are over 10,000 Special Authorities that expire each month of the year.
We were unable to do this until now due to technical constraints in the Electronic Special Authority System. Ministry of Health and PHARMAC have worked hard to find a solution and this has now been implemented.
Funding approvals in the Electronic Special Authority System that were due to expire in March and April 2020 will display a new expiry date:
- 31 March changed to 30 June 2020
- 30 April changed to 31 July 2020.
These extensions cover:
- Special Authorities
- Named Patient Pharmaceutical Assessment (NPPA) approvals
Can we do renewals now or do we need to wait until the new expiry date?
You don’t need to wait for the new expiry date to renew a NPPA or Special Authority.
This blanket extension is intended to help where your remote working arrangements mean it is not feasible to make a renewal application.
If I renew now, when will the renewal expire?
If you apply to renew a Special Authority now (and it is approved) then the extension will be incorporated into the new approval. For example, if you apply for a six-month renewal for a Special Authority that expired on 30 April 2020, it will be extended to 30 October 2020.
This does not apply to NPPA renewals. PHARMAC will continue to decide the duration of NPPA renewal applications at its own discretion.
Approvals that expired before 31 March 2020
Any approval that expired before 31 March won't be automatically extended. Prescribers will need to submit a renewal application.
If the application relates to a medicine with amended Special Authority criteria, you can make the application on the new form.
You will still need to ensure that the patient has a prescription to cover the extended approval period.
An approval does not compel you to provide a prescription for a patient. The approval just means that if the medicine is dispensed on a prescription it will be funded. Prescribers remain responsible for ensuring that treatments they prescribe are clinically appropriate.
Many prescribers have difficulty accessing the Ministry of Health online system (ESAS) during lockdown because they are working remotely.
This blanket change means prescribers do not need to apply online to extend Special Authority or NPPA which were due to expire end March or April.
Extensions for PAH, CF and MSTAC panel applications
Before now we had manually extended the Special Authorities for some medicines.
Criteria changes to Special Authorities
We have changed the Special Authority criteria for some medicines to support the health sector at this time.
These changes will remain in place for now. We will continue to reassess as we move through different alert levels.
We have compiled a list other funding changes that people have requested to support the health sector during the response to the pandemic.
To check if a medicine has a Special Authority, you can search for it in the Schedule. If a medicine requires a Special Authority, there is a link to the form in the Schedule listing
If you have questions about these changes, email firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions about:
- declined decisions
- submitting paper-based applications
- issues with the online system.
Contact Ministry of Health Sector Operations on:
> 0800 855 066
Last updated: 27 May 2020