Decision to modify the Schedule Rules for hospital pharmaceutical contracts

Medicines Decision

What we’re doing

We're pleased to announce the decision to update the national procurement rules for District Health Board (DHB) hospitals in the General Rules of the Pharmaceutical Schedule. This is to support our shift to Principal Supply Status (PSS).

Any changes to the original proposal?

This decision was subject to consultation on 18 June 2021, following an earlier consultation on our approach to competitive procurement on 4 August 2020 which was sent to suppliers, healthcare professionals, patient advocacy groups and on PHARMAC’s website for anyone else wanting to have their say. There was also a consultation sent to pharmaceutical suppliers on 10 July 2020. 

The changes to the General Rules of the Pharmaceutical Schedule will be implemented as proposed from 1 September 2021.  

Who we think will be most interested

  • Hospital pharmacists
  • Pharmaceutical suppliers 

Detail about this decision

We made the decision last year to adopt Principal Supply Status as our main approach to competitive procurement and gave effect this decision in the 2020/21 Invitation to Tender. We have started to award PSS to certain products, with PSS for these products beginning September 2021. 

To complete the shift to PSS, we are implementing new Schedule rules to provide clarity to DHB hospitals about their obligations when purchasing products that have had Principal Supply Status awarded. 

Changes to the Pharmaceutical Schedule Rules will take effect from 1 September in two areas: 

  • A new rule in Part 9 – National Contracting for Hospital Pharmaceuticals
  • Additional and updated definitions in Part 10 – Definitions 

Our response to what you told us

We’re really grateful for the time people took to respond to this consultation. A summary of the main themes raised in feedback and our responses to the feedback received are set out below. 



A responder was concerned about the ability of suppliers to comply due to small volumes involved


We consulted on our approach to competitive procurement with suppliers in July 2020 and more widely in August 2020. As we noted at that time, we intend to work with suppliers of alternative brands in the future to ensure viable ongoing supply of registered products.

No specific feedback was provided on the proposed Schedule rules changes

A responder supported the proposed rule changes. 

We appreciate this feedback

If you have any questions about this decision, you can email us at; or call our toll free number (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday) on 0800 660 050.