COVID-19: Hydroxychloroquine

There has been discussion of using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 cases.

Restricting access

From Tuesday, 24 March 2020, Pharmac restricted funded access to this medicine to make sure it is available for patients who need it for its registered indications. 

We have restricted the funded supply to the following Medsafe-approved indications only:

  • active rheumatoid arthritis
  • systemic and discoid lupus erythematosus
  • malaria treatment
  • malaria suppression. 

Pharmac does not decide the approved indications, that is Medsafe's role. Pharmac only decides whether a medicine will be funded for each indication.  

Pharmacists may annotate the prescription as endorsed if there is a record of prior dispensing of hydroxychloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine will continue to be funded for those patients who were taking it before the Schedule rule change.

Hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19

Hydroxychloroquine has not demonstrated an overall benefit in the treatment of COVID-19, as indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO’s statement about hydroxychloroquine(external link)

Who to contact

If you have questions about the funding restrictions around hydroxychloroquine, email enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz