Frequently asked questions

Save yourself a phone call or email. You can find answers to many common questions we get on this page.

You need to contact Medsafe

Medsafe is the government agency responsible for making sure medicines are safe and effective. 

Medsafe's contact details

Check our medicine notices

We update the medicine notices frequently. The information on this page is the latest we have on supply issues, brand changes, and discontinuations.

Medicine notices

If your enquiry isn't addressed by the medicine notices, email us at enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz

You need to contact the Ministry of Health 

The Ministry of Health is responsible for paying subsidies. 

Contact Sector Operations at the Ministry.

Ministry of Health contact details

PHARMAC does not sell medicine

If you want to buy a medicine that isn’t funded by PHARMAC, we recommend you talk to your health care professional.

If you wish to import a medicine from overseas, Medsafe is the government agency that oversees medicine importing.

Read Medsafe’s advice about importing medicine

Contact Medsafe

Talk to your doctor or health care specialist

PHARMAC cannot give medical advice. Our role is to decide which medicines to fund. 

Your doctor or specialist is the best person to help you get the best medicine for you.

International prescriptions cannot be filled

New Zealand pharmacies can only fill prescriptions written by New Zealand-registered medical professionals. 

You will need to visit a New Zealand doctor to get a prescription. 

Whether your visit or medication are subsidised is decided by the Ministry of Health.

Read more about eligibility – Ministry of Health website

If you are not eligible, talk to a pharmacist about the cost and whether your medicine is available.

Co-payment

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. 

Read about prescription charges - Ministry of Health's website

Prescription charges

Some medicines are not fully funded and you will need to contribute to the full cost of the medicine. 

What you need to pay is determined by the pharmacy and the price they can get from the wholesalers.

The price can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. It may pay to call around for the best price. 

PHARMAC has no control over this cost.

Read more about collecting and paying for your prescription

You may need to email us

We recommend you search our website first to see if we've answered your question already. 

If you do contact us, we will try to get back to you within 2 working days. Emails are often the fastest way to get an answer.

email: enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz

phone: 0800 660 050

The Ministry of Health processes Special Authority applications 

Special Authority information on the Ministry of Health’s website

PHARMAC sets the funding criteria for Special Authorities.

If your patient meets the spirit of the criteria but not quite the technical requirements, you may be able to apply for a waiver. 

Learn more about Special Authority Waivers

Special Authority numbers

We do not hold people's Special Authority numbers. If you need this number, contact the Ministry of Health's Sector operations

Contact details for Sector Operations - Ministry of Health website

Check the annual tender 

We do most of our procurement of generic medicines and related products through our annual tender.

Check for the latest tender and other procurement opportunities

Learn more about the Annual Tender

Find out about signing up for Future Procurement Opportunity (FPO) notifications

Make a funding application

If we have not considered funding the medicine, you will need to make a funding application

Find out how to make a funding application

Before starting, you should check whether we have considered funding the medicine before.

Search the Application Tracker

Report it to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)

Report adverse reactions to CARM

CARM is part of Otago University. Medsafe contracts CARM to provide pharmacovigilance services. Medsafe is the government body responsible for making sure medicines are 

If you're experiencing side effects

First talk to the person who prescribed the medicine, such as your doctor or specialist. They know your clinical circumstances best and can advise on the best actions to take.

Reporting side effects

Adverse reactions to medicines can be reported to the Centre for Adverse Reaction Monitoring (CARM). They are part of Otago University. Medsafe contracts them to monitor the side effects of medicines. Medsafe is the agency that approves medicines for use in New Zealand.

Report a side effect

Report it to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)

Report adverse reactions to CARM

CARM is part of Otago University. Medsafe contracts CARM to provide pharmacovigilance services. Medsafe is the government body responsible for making sure medicines are 

You may need to email us

We recommend you search our website first to see if we've answered your question already. 

If you do contact us, we will try to get back to you within 2 working days. Emails are often the fastest way to get an answer.

email: enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz

phone: 0800 660 050

You may need to email us

We recommend you search our website first to see if we've answered your question already. 

If you do contact us, we will try to get back to you within 2 working days. Emails are often the fastest way to get an answer.

email: enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz

phone: 0800 660 050

You may need to email us

We recommend you search our website first to see if we've answered your question already. 

If you do contact us, we will try to get back to you within 2 working days. Emails are often the fastest way to get an answer.

email: enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz

phone: 0800 660 050

You need to contact Medsafe

Medsafe is the government agency responsible for making sure medicines are safe and effective. 

Medsafe's contact details

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