Pharmac amends funding rules on dispensing of ADHD medicines

Media release Medicines

Te Pātaka Whaioranga - Pharmac has announced an amendment to the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 June 2023, to align funding rules for ADHD treatments with law changes that enable controlled drugs to be prescribed for a maximum of three-months supply when using the New Zealand Electronic Prescription Service(external link) (NZePS).

“Regulatory changes recently came into effect that mean people will now be able to be prescribed up to three months of the ADHD treatments, methylphenidate and dexamphetamine if the prescription is electronic,” says Pharmac’s Director of Operations Lisa Williams. “The legislation still requires the medicines to be dispensed monthly; however, with a three-month electronic prescription instead of a one-month prescription as it was before, people will only need to pay one prescription co-payment for three-months supply of their medicine.”

The changes Pharmac has made will ensure funded supply is consistent with recent changes to the electronic prescribing and dispensing of Class B controlled drugs set out in the Medicines Amendment Regulations 2022(external link) and the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Regulations 2022(external link).  Paper prescriptions remain limited to a one-month period of supply.

“We are pleased to be able to make this change to the Schedule rules to align with the changes made to legislation by Manatū Hauora at the end of 2022. This will reduce costs to approximately 48,000 New Zealanders who receive funded methylphenidate and dexamphetamine and it has the potential to reduce stress for people living with ADHD.”

Pharmac had initially consulted on making rule changes that applied to all Class B controlled medicines, however concerns were raised in feedback on the proposal about the impacts for opioids. Manatū Hauora are revisiting the regulatory settings in relation to opioids, so it has asked that Pharmac holds off on make any funding rule changes in this area.

“We want to thank everyone who provided feedback in response to our consultation in November, and for their patience throughout this process. We will work with the health sector and advocacy groups for the ADHD community to ensure there is clear understanding about the impacts of our rule changes,” concludes Ms Williams.