Collecting and paying for medicines

On this page

Why can’t I collect all three months of my medicine at one time?

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.

Why has my pharmacist charged me more than usual?

  • 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.

I'm visiting New Zealand, how much will my medicine cost?

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.

Read more about eligibility – Ministry of Health website(external link)

Even if you are eligible, you will need a prescription from a New Zealand doctor or prescriber.

$5 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(external link)

Health subsidy cards

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. 

Learn more about the prescription subsidy scheme on the Ministry of Health's website(external link)

A Community Services Card (CSC)

If you have a CSC, you may pay less for GP visits and prescriptions.

Find out if you're eligible for a CSC on the Work and Income website(external link)

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

Find out if you are eligible for an HUHC on the Ministry of Health's website(external link)

SuperGold card

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.

Find out if you're eligible and how much you may be able to save on the SuperGold Card(external link)

Filling your prescription for Maviret

Maviret is funded for the treatment of hepatitis C. Only Maviret AbbVie Care pharmacies can dispense funded Maviret.

Read more about accessing Maviret

Who to contact

If you have questions about funding for a medicine, email enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz

If you have questions about how a medicine is working or any side effects, talk to a trusted health professional, like a pharmacist or the person who prescribed the medicine. Pharmac can't comment on your individual clinical circumstances.