Information on Special Authority renewal for Ritalin

OIA response

Thank you for your request dated 22 January 2024 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to methylphenidate. You requested:

Can I please ask for a copy of the reasoning that was applied in the decision to require a biannual Special Authority renewal for Ritalin prescriptions? Please let me know if this needs to come in the form of an official information application and I will get that prepared and submitted asap.

The Special Authority criteria for methylphenidate reflects the combination of the legal requirements to prescribe methylphenidate and the Pharmaceutical Schedule rules regarding specialist recommendations.

Methylphenidate’s first Special Authority was put in place in February 2000. This decision was in response to changes made by the Ministry of Health to the legal restrictions for prescribing methylphenidate. These changes restricted the prescribing of methylphenidate for ADHD to psychiatrists and pediatricians or any medical practitioner on the written recommendation of a psychiatrist or pediatrician. The legal restrictions for methylphenidate are reflected in the most recent approval to prescribe, supply and administer methylphenidate(external link). Additionally, rule 2.1.3e of the Pharmaceutical Schedule rules states that a specialist recommendation expires at the end of two years and can be renewed by a further consultation.

We have not identified any specific documents in relation to this request and as such the remainder of your request is refused under s18(e), document does not exist or cannot be found, despite reasonable efforts to locate it.

We trust that this information answers your queries. Please note, you have the right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman about our response to your OIA, under section 28(3) of the OIA. Details of how to make a complaint(external link) are on the Ombudsman’s website.

To make information more freely available, we publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.