For suppliers: The Annual Tender

The Annual Tender is one way Pharmac manages how much New Zealand spends on medicines and related products. This information is to help suppliers to take part in the process effectively.

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What is the Pharmac Annual Tender?

The Pharmac Invitation to Tender (ITT) is an annual procurement process. It gives suppliers the opportunity to bid for supply of a large range of different medicines and related products (400–700 line items per tender).

Suppliers bid to have “Principal Supply Status” on medicines and related products included in the ITT.

What is Principal Supply Status?

If awarded a tender, the supplier’s brand becomes the main funded brand in the community and/or DHB hospitals. The principal supplier is guaranteed up to 95% of the total funded market for about 3 years. Pharmac can fund small amounts of other brands where needed.

Principal Supply Status is new. Before the 2020/21 ITT, Pharmac offered Sole Subsidised Supply (often referred to as sole supply) and Hospital Supply Status.

Read the announcement of our adoption of Principal Supply Status

Who can bid in the Tender?

The ITT is an open procurement process. A supplier does not need to be a New Zealand company to take part.

Before a product can be awarded a tender, however, suppliers must hold all necessary regulatory consents and approvals to market the product in New Zealand.

Suppliers must apply to Medsafe for marketing approval, where this is required. Pharmac does not approve medicines or medical devices. Medsafe is the government body that administers the Medicines Act.

Find out about Medsafe’s approval process – Medsafe’s website(external link)

Key dates for suppliers

July to August: Consultation on draft ITT

We ask for comment on our draft ITT from medical professionals, consumers, and suppliers. The draft ITT includes:

  • the list of medicines and related products we want bids on
  • the terms and conditions of the tender.

This is also when suppliers can submit an alternative commercial proposal (ACP) to tendering.

The consultation is usually open for 4 weeks.

Early November to mid-December: Bids invited

Pharmac usually issues the final ITT in late October or early November. It is usually open for just over a month.

Suppliers must submit their bid through Pharmac’s electronic tender system. Pharmac publishes the ITT and supporting information on our website. We also post a Notice of Information on GETS, the Government’s electronic tendering system.

Year round: Decisions on tender bids

Each month, we notify any tender decisions made (both decisions to award a tender and decline a tender). We publish the details of these decisions on our website.

We consider every bid carefully. It can take many months for us to work through all the bids. We need to ensure we have all necessary information to evaluate bids and make a decision.

Because of this, you may not hear from us or receive notice from us for some time after you have submitted your bid. Unless we have questions, we won’t be in contact until we reach a decision.

Tender bids must remain open for Pharmac to accept until the date specified in the ITT.

Who to contact

If you have questions about Pharmac’s annual tender, email