Prescription numbers

OIA response

Response to an Official Information Act request on prescription numbers.

14 November 2019

[name and contact details redacted]

Dear [name redacted]


Thank you for your request for information under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA), which was transferred (in part) to PHARMAC from the Ministry of Health on 17 October 2019. You asked for information on:

  1. How many people collect prescribed items (i.e. some prescriptions may be written but never filled)?
  2. How many prescription items are issued for 180 day prescriptions?
  3. How many prescription items are issued for 90 day prescriptions?

Below is the information you have requested. Data is for the time period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 and is only for subsidised prescriptions.

With regard to question 1, PHARMAC is able to access data on the number of subsidised prescriptions dispensed, but does not have data on the number of prescriptions written, as this data is not collected.

There were 3,768,297 individual people who were dispensed subsidised pharmaceuticals in the last financial year.

Type of prescription

Number of prescriptions dispensed

90 day prescriptions


180 day prescriptions


We trust that this information answers your queries.  We are making our information more freely available, so we will now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website.  Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.

Yours sincerely

Alison Hill
Director, Engagement and Implementation