Responsible use of medicines

How we promote responsible use of medicines.

Legislated objective

One of Pharmac’s functions, as outlined in the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act, is to promote the responsible use of pharmaceuticals.

For us, this means that everyone has a fair opportunity to get the Pharmac funded treatments that are best for them. It means that these treatments are prescribed and used in the right way to provide the best health outcomes.

Approach to responsible use changing

In the past, to fulfil our responsible use function, Pharmac has contracted external providers to create educational resources to support prescribing practice in primary care. 

We’re now moving away from using a single provider to commissioning work as needed. This means that the responsible use mahi (work) will be managed by Pharmac internally. 

We previously maintained a Responsible Use Advisory Group. However, we’re wanting to work more closely with our existing clinical advisory network and with the Consumer Advisory Committee. In particular, we want to know what responsible use activities may be most important to consumers and how we can incorporate the consumer voice into our responsible use mahi. 

We’re doing this because there are wider opportunities that the Pae Ora Act gives us and other things we need to consider in our responsible use mahi. These include:

  • working with the wider health and disability system
  • collaborating in new and emerging national programmes
  • incorporating our hospital medical devices mahi
  • better understanding the needs of New Zealanders. 

What we're doing now

We’re horizon scanning for new opportunities, including:

  • Starting conversations with health professionals and consumers in our specialist advisory committees, our consumer advisory committee, primary care, Health New Zealand, and Māori and Pacific health organisations.
  • Targeting our activities to reflect the priorities, workplans, and national activities of the health and disability system.
  • Monitoring the outcomes of our medicine funding decisions, to identify and follow up barriers to access.
    Evaluating our implementation activities, to make sure they are reaching the right people, are fit-for-purpose, and help people to use funded treatments.
  • Understanding how the responsible use of hospital medical devices can be incorporated into the development of the project.
  • Commissioning resources to promote the responsible use of treatments.

How you can help

We have heard from many of you that you are keen to contribute to supporting the responsible use of medicines and hospital medical devices in New Zealand.  

We would love to know if you have any work programmes, projects or groups coming up, or that you are involved in, that we could contribute to.

Likewise, if you have any ideas of areas where we could influence positive change.

If you’d like to contact us, please email us at