Most funded medicines will return to all-at-once dispensing from midnight Friday 31 July 2020 because PHARMAC is removing most of the temporary dispensing restrictions put in place to manage supply during COVID-19. 

“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,” explains PHARMAC’s director of operations Lisa Williams.

Medicines that were on monthly dispensing before 27 March 2020 will of course also continue to be dispensed monthly.”

New Zealand is at Alert Level 1, but international medicine supply chains are still affected by COVID-19. Returning to all at once dispensing for all medicines is dependent on having enough stock available in New Zealand, and supply chains for each medicine being robust.

“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 Ms Williams.

 “We are giving three weeks’ notice because we know the sector (suppliers, wholesalers, distributers and pharmacies) need time to prepare for the return to all-at-once dispensing.

There is no need for New Zealanders to stockpile medicines at home. PHARMAC works closely with suppliers to ensure that New Zealanders have uninterrupted access to the medicines they need.

See our website for more information:

Information for patients collecting repeats

  • If you have remaining repeats to collect from the pharmacy after 1 August 2020, you do not need to get a new prescription.
  • We have asked pharmacists to dispense remaining repeats in one month lots where possible. This will help to manage the supply of medicines as we transition back to all-at-once dispensing. You do not need to pay anything to collect repeats.
  • You only need to get a new prescription when your repeats are finished.


  1. Can someone please advise me as to how I could begin and to whom re funding the drug Avastin? My son has almost finished his first end of Avastin for bowel cancer. It has seemingly been effective. We raised $46000 through Givealittle for the first round. That is virtually exhausted. The drug is now free for him- funded by Roche- but every two weeks (at present) it must be administered privately, at a cost of $1700 a pop. If it were to be funded, he could have it done in the public system, which in time, would prove a godsend, as the financial burden on the family would be considerable (he has few assets and we are superannuitants). I am planning to approach an MP to see if they will take up the case.

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