NZ's restrictions on the supply of prescription drugs to be eased

The New Zealand Herald

NZ's restrictions on the supply of prescription drugs to be eased

Full Article Source

Pharmac will be removing most of NZ's medicine dispensing restrictions. Photo / File Most of the temporary restrictions put on dispensing Government-funded medicine will be removed from midnight on July 31. Restrictions were put in place on March 27 as part of Pharmac's response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The move was made to prevent major strains on the supply chain of pharmacy drugs due to stockpiling. Most of New Zealand's pharmaceutical needs are sourced from overseas suppliers and the ability to restock the drugs quickly is extremely limited. "This means that from Saturday 1 August pharmacists will be able to return to dispensing three months' supply all at once for most medicines, with exceptions for those medicines which have continuing problems with supply," Pharmac's director of operations Lisa Williams said. "Medicines that were on monthly dispensing before 27 March 2020 will of course also continue to be dispensed monthly." Williams said they are "giving three weeks' notice because we know the sector (suppliers, wholesalers, distributors and pharmacies) need time to prepare for the return to all-at-once dispensing". "We are removing the dispensing restrictions for most medicines because, following consultation with suppliers, distributors, and wholesalers, we are now confident that there is sufficient stock in New Zealand to support this change," says Williams. Even though New Zealand is now at Level 1, international medicine supply chains are still being heavily affected by Covid-19. Williams said that the agency had contacted all contracted distributors, wholesalers, and pharmacies on the reinstatement of all-at-once dispensing, and "over 3000 responded", with the exception of 16 medicines that will remain on restricted dispensing. One of the key medicines that will remain on a one-month restricted dispensing is 800mg tablets of Ibuprofen. Pharmac said there was no need for New Zealanders to stockpile medicines at home as they are working "closely with suppliers to ensure that New Zealanders have uninterrupted access to the medicines they need". The person recently returned from overseas and went to Auckland City Hospital.