From Monday 9 March 2020, PHARMAC is placing a temporary dispensing limit on Government-funded paracetamol.

PHARMAC have been advised that as the main site for the raw materials used in paracetamol is in China, many international manufacturing sites have been closed due to quarantine associated with Covid-19, and therefore paracetamol is now in short supply.

“Impacts to supply of paracetamol is a global issue and we don’t know yet when normal supply of this raw material will resume. The supplier will continue to update us regularly, and once supply resumes dispensing will return to normal,” says Lisa Williams, PHARMAC’s director of operations.

For New Zealanders, this means that the amount of paracetamol dispensed to each patient will be reduced (except where needed for chronic use) – and will likely only be supplied monthly, rather than three-monthly. This does not apply for over-the-counter bought paracetamol.

PHARMAC has stated that there is enough stock of paracetamol in New Zealand to meet demands of four months.

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