Stopping the printed Schedule

In early 2021 we will stop printing and posting copies of the Pharmaceutical Schedule and Updates. We will also continue to produce PDF versions which you can download and print if you wish.

We print and post copies of the Pharmaceutical Schedule for most community pharmacies, some hospital pharmacies and several other health sector organisations.

When this will happen

  • The Pharmaceutical Schedule will continue to be available online. We will also continue to produce PDF versions which you can download and print if you wish.
  • In March 2021 PHARMAC will stop printing and posting copies of the Hospital Medicines List and Updates.
  • In April 2021 PHARMAC will stop printing and posting copies of the Pharmaceutical Schedule and Updates.

Why we're no longer printing and posting the Schedule

The reasons we have decided to stop providing printed copies of the Schedule are: 

  • To encourage health professionals to use the online Pharmaceutical Schedule, which is easier to update than a printed copy and is searchable.
  • To invest the savings from printing and postage into improving the functionality of the Online Schedule
  • To save paper waste. We update the Schedule monthly so every year printed copies of the CPS the HML and all updates is either recycled or goes to landfill. 

Your feedback 

We surveyed people who use a printed copy of the Schedule before making this decision. The summary of the survey results is below along with the actions we plan to take in response to your feedback. 

We recognise that not everyone is happy with our decision to stop providing printed copies of the Pharmaceutical Schedule in 2021.

There is an almost even split between people who say they need the printed copy to do their job and those who don’t. (46% need printed; 41% don’t need; 12% ambivalent)

Access to a computer and reliable internet

  • Some community pharmacies only have one computer which is used for label printing/dispensing. Some have internet access problems.  Others experience power cuts.
  • We recognise that access to an additional computer and reliable internet is an issue for some community pharmacies. So we are giving six months’ notice so that pharmacies can plan for the change.  We will also continue to produce PDF versions of the Schedule which pharmacists can download and print as a backup copy if they wish.

Need for training and support to use online

  • A few people said they have never used the online version of the Pharmaceutical Schedule and do not know how to use it.
  • We recognise that some people will need support to transition from print to online version. We are planning to produce a new training video before we stop printing and posting the Schedule.

Schedule changes - the last week of the month

  • We update the online Schedule around the 23rd of each month and the changes come into effect on the 1st of the month. This means that for a week each month the current Schedule is not online so people have to refer to the paper copy or the online PDF version. 
  • Work is underway to allow users to toggle between the “current” and the “future” Schedule during the last week of the month. We are aiming to do this in 2021 and will test it with users before we roll it out to everyone. In the meantime the PDF will continue to be available online.

Schedule search and navigation

  • Search “look up” 

You asked for an “autocomplete” in the search function for the Online Schedule. You said it is hard to spell the name of a medicine exactly right when searching. Some of you suggested a medicine drop-down like the NZ Formulary list.

We have changed the search on the new website and included a “look up” for Schedule searches. Try the new search and let us know your feedback.

  • Search terms

You asked for improvements to the search function in the Schedule.  

We will keep the search function in the Schedule under review make further changes once we have feedback on the website search improvements.

  • Seeing what has changed since last month

You said it is hard to work out what has changed since last month without referring to PDF Updates.  You want “latest changes” highlighted in some way to make them easier to identify.

We haven’t made any changes yet because we had to prioritise the work on the new website but it is something we will consider in 2021.

Information about the Schedule on the website

Finding the HML

You said it was hard to navigate directly to the HML from the homepage and not always clear whether you were searching the HML or the Community Schedule.

Thank you for this feedback.  It helped us with designing the new website.  We’ve added a link to the HML on every page in the top navigation and we’ve made it easier to search the HML directly from the Search box on the website.

PSO List 

You asked for an easier to access copy of the PSO list. In response to your feedback, we've created a new page that answers common questions and provides an updated PSO list every month. 

Access the PSO list

 Dermatological ECP flowchart

You wanted an easier access to the dermatalogical ECP chart. 

In response to your feedback. Please help us improve it further if you have ideas

Access the dermatological ECP flowchart