Advance notice of consultation about changes to the Pharmaceutical Schedule Rules

Medicines Consultation Closed

PHARMAC is working to make the Pharmaceutical Schedule Rules easier to find, use and apply.

We’ll seek your feedback on proposed changes to the Rules in a consultation that will start in mid-February.

Pharmaceutical Schedule Rules

The Pharmaceutical Schedule contains rules that govern how funded medicines and medical devices should be prescribed, dispensed and claimed for in the community, and purchased and used in DHB hospitals.

Over the years, as PHARMAC’s scope has grown, so too have the Schedule Rules. They’ve become scattered throughout the different parts of the Schedule, and can be difficult to find, interpret and apply. We’d like to change that.

PHARMAC is working with professionals from pharmacy, primary and secondary care and central government to make sure we get the Schedule Rules right, and produce a product that’s fit for purpose.

The next step is to seek wider input from people from across the health sector. A consultation document seeking feedback on the proposed changes will be issued in mid-February 2018. Before then, we want to provide you with an overview of the types of proposed changes that we’ll be seeking feedback on.

Tidying the Schedule Rules

PHARMAC intends to consolidate and restructure the Schedule Rules, but not change the meaning of them.

What we’re doing

To make the rules easier to find and apply we’re:

  • Tidying up the Schedule Rules: we’re bringing the rules together in one place, and removing redundant text and duplication.
  • Developing practical resources to assist interpretation of key rules. These resources will continue to evolve and be updated over time.

What we’re not doing

  • We don’t intend to change the meaning of any of the rules.
  • We won’t be reviewing any restrictions – such as Special Authorities and hospital restrictions – that relate to a particular pharmaceutical or therapeutic group of pharmaceuticals

Who might be affected by this work?

Anyone who uses the Pharmaceutical Schedule on a regular basis.


Mid-February 2018 – consultation issued

  • We intend to issue a full consultation document detailing the changes to the Schedule Rules.
  • The consultation is likely be open for responses for 5-6 weeks.

April – June 2018 – any changes that result from the consultation would be notified and implemented.

Questions and feedback

If you have questions you can email Belinda Ray-Johnson, Schedule Development Manager: