Cyclone Gabrielle

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21 March 2023 update

Te Whatu Ora's co-payment waiver extended to 10 April 2023 for displaced people.

We want to acknowledge the challenges that people are going through and express our deepest sympathy and concern for all of those who have been impacted. We understand how difficult this is for many of our providers right now. The impact, both personally and professionally, is immense. 

Cyclone affected pharmacies can use their discretion when dispensing

So that pharmacies can provide their patients with the right amount of medicines for their particular needs, Pharmac is applying rule 5.5 for:

  • Northland
  • Coromandel
  • Tairāwhiti
  • Tararua
  • Hawke's Bay.

This allows pharmacies in these areas to use their discretion when dispensing medicines to patients. Pharmacies can adjust the frequency and amount of medicine dispensed product by product, using their judgement based on the needs of a patient and how much stock they are holding. Medicines can be dispensed anywhere between STAT (three months at a time) down to two weeks at a time.

Annotate ‘out of stock’ when applying the rule.   

This rule applies immediately and until 10 April 2023

Supply of medicines under Rural PSO 

Effective immediately and until 10 April 2023, Pharmac is extending supply of medicines under Rural PSO to all areas affected by the Cyclone Gabrielle in:

  • Northland
  • Coromandel
  • Tairāwhiti
  • Tararua
  • Hawke's Bay

This means that any Community Pharmaceutical may be supplied on a PSO, even if the prescriber’s normal practice is in a non-rural area. Rule 1.3.2 and all other relevant requirements must still be met.

All the requirements of Section B of the Schedule applicable to the pharmaceutical must be met. As such, medicines with restrictions, like Special Authority, cannot be supplied on Rural PSO.

Pharmacists dispensing on Rural PSO under this arrangement should set the code to ‘Y’ when claiming.

Co-payment waiver extended to 10 April 2023

Support is still needed for people displaced by Cyclone Gabrielle. Te Whatu Ora has extended the prescription co-payment waiver until Monday 10 April 2023 (11:59 pm) to support people displaced from:

  • Northland
  • Coromandel
  • Tairawhiti
  • Hawke’s Bay
  • Tararua.

"Displaced" means people who cannot live in their usual home or residence. People in small communities who are cut off or isolated in Hawke’s Bay are also covered.

The prescription co-payment extension does not apply as widely as the previous waiver.  

Supply chain

We are working closely with suppliers of funded medicines, devices, vaccines and other treatments to monitor stock levels. Please note there may be localised outages due to difficulties getting deliveries through.

We will update our Medicine Notices page with information about any national supply issues. 

Who to contact

If you have suggestions or questions, email

For those with limited connectivity, you can text 021 625 346

If you need to talk

Call or text 1737 any time (it’s free)

Other mental health helplines — Mental Health Foundation(external link)