Collecting and paying for medicines
On this page:
- Why can’t I collect all three months of my medicine at one time?
- Why has my pharmacist charged me more than usual?
- I'm visiting New Zealand, how much will my medicine cost?
- $5 co-payment
- Health subsidy cards
Reasons you can't collect your whole prescription include:
- your doctor decided how much you can get
- the medicine doesn't stay active for long
- the cost of the medicine
- a supply shortage of the medicine
- laws apply to how the medicine is dispensed, such as controlled drugs.
There are exceptions to limited dispensing. Talk to your pharmacist if you are going away on holiday or it's difficult for you to get to the pharmacy.
- PHARMAC might not fully fund your medicine.
- A prescription written by a specialist or dentist can cost more.
- The pharmacist may have charged you for an extra service, such as a faxed prescription or special packaging.
- There is no set pricing for partially funded or unfunded medicines.
Talk to your pharmacist about what the charges were and how you could avoid them. You can ask another pharmacy to compare costs.
PHARMAC decides what medicines to fund for eligible people. The Ministry of Health decides who is eligible for funded medicine. If you are not eligible, talk to a pharmacist about the cost and whether your medicine is available.
Even if you are eligible, you will need a prescription from a New Zealand doctor or prescriber.
The co-payment most patients pay for their subsidised prescription items is $5. You may pay more than $5 if your prescription is from a specialist or a dentist.
Co-payments are managed by the Ministry of Health.
Prescription Subsidy Card (PSC)
The PSC sets a limit on the number of prescriptions that a family needs to pay for each year. A family can have a PSC once they've paid for 20 funded prescriptions in a year. The year runs from 1 February to 31 January.
A Community Services Card (CSC)
If you have a CSC, you may pay less for GP visits and prescriptions.
High-Use Health Card (HUHC)
If you've visited the doctor more than 12 times in the last 12 months, you may qualify for an HUHC. The HUHC may reduce the cost of:
- prescription fees
- fees for after-hours general practice visits
- visits to a general practice where you are not enrolled
The SuperGold card offers discounts on a range of products and services, including health services. The SuperGold card is for:
- New Zealand residents aged 65 or over
- people who qualify for a NZ Super or a Veteran’s Pension.
Last updated: 28 July 2020