Prescriptions and units dispensed in financial year 2020/21 

OIA response


Thank you for your request dated 16 February 2021 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to prescription items dispensed in New Zealand in financial year 2020/21[1]. You asked:

how many prescriptions or what was the value (in dollars) in medications dispensed in the last year in community pharmacy and in Hospital pharmacy. 

On 9 March, we enquired whether the information on page 18 of the Annual Report 2020/21(external link) was sufficient for the purpose of your request, as our Annual Report contains the total gross spending on medicines used in community and hospital settings. You then clarified your request to ask for the:

Number of prescription item dispensed, PLEASE do NOT include Vaccinations, Devices, OR hospital ONLY items. 

I am pleased to provide you with the information you have requested. 

Financial year Prescriptions Units


49,580,182 8,257,556,335

Please note:

  • This includes all chemicals under the Pharmac Community Schedule, excluding the National Immunisation Schedule group, dispensed between 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.
  • Some Community Pharmaceuticals have a unit of measurement of ‘devices’ (eg intra-uterine devices) but they are still included as they are on the Community Pharmaceutical Schedule.
  • Units include multiple types of units eg ml, vials, injections etc.
  • We do not hold dispensings or script information for hospitals.
  • Prescriptions are calculated off each pharmacode dispensing so a prescription with multiple chemicals or formulations will be counted as multiple prescriptions.

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

[1] Pharmac's financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June.