Approval of proposal to subsidise certain pharmaceuticals prescribed by all Diabetes Nurse Prescribers

Medicines Decision

PHARMAC is pleased to announce the approval of a proposal to subsidise certain prescription medicines and devices prescribed by all Diabetes Nurse Prescribers.

This was the subject of a consultation letter dated 24 March 2014.

Details of the decision

  • The definition for Diabetes Nurse Prescriber will be amended in Section A of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 May 2014 as follows (changes in bold and strikethrough):

“Diabetes Nurse Prescriber”, means a registered nurse who is a Designated Prescriber—Registered Nurses Practising in Diabetes Health as determined by the Nursing Council of New Zealand to practice practising in diabetes health and who has authority to prescribe specified diabetes medicines in accordance with regulations made under the Medicines Act 1981, and who is practicing in an approved DHB demonstration site.

  • The General Rule for Diabetes Nurse Prescribers’ Prescriptions will be amended in Section A of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 May 2014 as follows (deletions in strikethrough):

3.6 Diabetes Nurse Prescribers’ Prescriptions

The following provisions apply to every Prescription written by a Diabetes Nurse Prescriber:

3.6.1 Prescriptions written by a Diabetes Nurse Prescriber for a Community Pharmaceutical will only be subsidised where they are for either:

a) a Community Pharmaceutical classified as a Prescription Medicine or a Restricted Medicine and which a Diabetes Nurse Prescribers is permitted under regulations to prescribe; or
b) any other Community Pharmaceutical listed below:

aspirin, blood glucose diagnostic test meter, blood glucose diagnostic test strip, blood ketone diagnostic test meter, glucagon hydrochloride inj 1 mg syringe kit, insulin pen needles, insulin syringes disposable with attached needle, insulin pump accessories, insulin pump infusion set, insulin pump reservoir, ketone blood beta-ketone electrodes test strip, nicotine, sodium nitroprusside test strip,

3.6.2 Any Diabetes Nurse Prescribers’ prescription for a medication requiring a Special Authority will only be subsidised if it is for a repeat prescription (ie after the initial prescription with Special Authority approval was dispensed).

Note: A list of Diabetes Nurse Prescribers will be published periodically in the Update of the Pharmaceutical Schedule for the duration of an initial pilot scheme. After this period there will be no approved DHB demonstration sites and hence no Diabetes Nurse Prescribers.

  • By amending the General Rules of the Pharmaceutical Schedule to remove reference to the approved DHB demonstration sites, any Diabetes Nurse Prescriber registered by the Nursing Council of New Zealand would have their prescriptions subsidised. 

Feedback received

We appreciate all of the feedback that we received and acknowledge the time people took to respond. All consultation responses were considered in their entirety in making a decision on the proposed changes. Most responses were supportive of the proposal, and the following issues were raised in relation to specific aspects of the proposal:

Theme Comment

One responder queried if there was a plan to acknowledge Independent Nurse Prescriber qualifications from overseas coming to New Zealand to practice.

PHARMAC does not decide on the registration or scope of practice for New Zealand registered health professionals. For nursing this is the responsibility of the Nursing Council.

One responder considered that Diabetes Nurse Prescribers were to get a different level of subsidy to that of a medical practitioner.

This decision means that patients will be able to access certain subsidised medicines (or devices) whether or not their prescription was written by a registered Diabetes Nurse Prescriber or by another health professional.  It also ensures that all registered Diabetes Nurse Prescriber are recognised, not just those in the initial pilot demonstration sites.

One responder requested that PHARMAC conduct analysis on the utilisation and budgetary impact of any new group that is granted prescribing rights in the future.

PHARMAC agrees that the budgetary evaluation of any new prescriber group is important.

More information

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 66 00 50.