News Stories

December 2020 Update

Carbimazole – Supply Issue & New Listing

From 1 December 2020, an alternative brand of carbimazole tab 5 mg (Neo-Mercazole S29) will be listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule due to a supply issue. Neo-Mercazole S29 is an unapproved medicine and will need to be supplied in accordance with section 29 of the Medicines Act. Wastage claiming will apply.

AFT Carbimazole tab 5 mg (Pharmacode: 2451034) is being delisted 1 March 2021.

Imatinib mesilate – New Listing

The Rex brand imatinib cap 400 mg listing has been brought forward from the original proposed date of 1 January 2021 and will be now listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 December 2020. Stock is expected to be available from mid-December. The sole supply and delisting dates remain unchanged.

There are no changes to the listing date of the imatinib cap 100 mg.

Travoprost eye drops 0.004% – Supply Issue & New Listing

PHARMAC and Mylan are working to manage a shortage of the Travoprost eye drops 0.004%, 5 ml OP (Pharmacode: 2523035). A section 29 alternative brand will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 December 2020. Stock is not currently available for this alternative brand, however further information, including the expect resupply date, will be available on the PHARMAC’s medicines notice webpage.

Going online

From April 2021, we will no longer print the Community Pharmaceutical Schedule or Hospital
Medical List updates. Our online Schedule will continue to be the most accurate source for
past, current and proposed funded medicines in New Zealand.

As we phase out the printed copies, we encourage you to familiarise yourself with our online

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Supporting you

To support the transition, we will introduce the following:

  • tutorial video on how to use the online Schedule
  • downloadable PDFs of the updates on our website
  • subscription options to receive monthly Schedule updates at

Our reasons for stopping the printed Schedule

  • 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.

Thank you for your ongoing support. If you would like to learn more about stopping the
printed schedule, please visit

New Website

In September 2020 we launched our new website. You can see what changes we made by



Special Authority application forms sent to the Ministry of Health for processing

The Ministry of Health would like to advise, effective immediately:

All Special Authority application forms are to be sent to its email address –

Please ensure the following is in the subject line of the email: patient’s NHI number and the words Special Authority. Practitioners will need to send a separate email for each individual Special Authority application form.

Note that if you currently submit your Special Authority applications electronically, please continue to do this. Electronic submission is the Ministry of Health’s preferred mechanism for form submission. Email submissions are replacing fax submissions only. If you would like to set up electronic submissions please call the Ministry of Health on 0800 855 066, option 5.

Scanned Applications attached to an e-mail

The following guideline has been provided by the Ministry of Health for Health Practitioners to securely send Special Authority application forms. This approach provides the lowest acceptable level of security for identifiable data. When using email to move identifiable information, those involved must consider the full lifecycle of the email concerned, including:

  • The workstation on which the email is created (copies may remain in draft or in temporary
    file storage)
  • The end-to-end security of each step in the email delivery trail
  • Whether all components of the email delivery support encryption-in-transit
  • Copies of the email will remain:
    • in the ‘sent items’ folder of the sender
    • in the ‘inbox’ of the receiver (or any other file/folder location, if filed)
    • in any system backups for servers that may be running backups whilst the email is in
    • in backup copies of either the sender or receiver mailboxes, if a backup is taken whilst
      the content is present
    • in any email archiving systems that may be active in any part of the mail delivery system.

The Ministry suggests the following protocol for sending Special Authority application forms
via email:

  • review the document to ensure the correct data is being released (peer review strongly recommended)
  • transmit the file via email, ensuring the recipient’s email address is accurately entered and that no other recipients are included on the email
  • The source file must then be deleted from:
    • Any transient working space not approved for the security of identifiable information
    • The sent items folder of their email system
  • The Ministry will extract the required information from the received document, and then:
    • remove the e-mail from their inbox once the data has been extracted, and
    • delete any copies located in transient working space not approved for the security of identifiable information

Consideration at both ends must be given to the security applied to all components of the system, including workstations, servers, email vendors involved, including backups. The New Zealand Information Security Manual (NZISM) and the Health Information Security Framework (HISF) should serve as baseline security targets, with an appropriate risk-based accreditation in place for all systems.

Tender News

Sole Subsidised Supply changes – effective 1 January 2021

Chemical Name

Presentation; Pack size

Sole Subsidised Supply Brand (and supplier)

Losartan potassium

Tab 12.5 mg; 84 tab

Losartan Actavis (Teva)

Losartan potassium

Tab 25 mg; 84 tab

Losartan Actavis (Teva)

Losartan potassium

Tab 50 mg; 84 tab

Losartan Actavis (Teva)

Losartan potassium

Tab 100 mg; 84 tab

Losartan Actavis (Teva)

Naltrexone hydrochloride

Tab 50 mg; 30 tab

Naltraccord (Teva)


Looking Forward

This section is designed to alert both pharmacists and prescribers to possible future changes to the Pharmaceutical Schedule. It may also assist pharmacists, distributors and wholesalers to manage stock levels.

Decisions for implementation 1 January 2021

  • Imatinib (Imatinib-Rex) cap 100 mg – new listing
  • Lamotrigine (Lamictal) tab dispersible 5 mg – Brand switch fee removed