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HealthInfo Canterbury

COVID-19 – Public message about medicines supply

People who need to take medicines regularly may be anxious about their continued availability. This is understandable.

Medicine shortages do happen. But New Zealand's medicines supply chain – PHARMAC, pharmacies, distributors and suppliers – works very well to minimise shortages and to fairly distribute any medicines temporarily in short supply.

Prescription medicines are usually dispensed by pharmacists in monthly or three-monthly amounts. People shouldn't ask for more than these normal amounts – in other words, please don't try to stockpile your regular medicines.

Stockpiling medicines makes it more difficult for pharmacists, doctors and PHARMAC to avoid shortages for everyone. We all have a part to play in using health services responsibly at this challenging time so that those who need care the most don't have to wait longer than they should.

Renewing the prescription of your regular medicines

People should ensure they always have enough of their regular medicines for at least one to two weeks.

When it's time to renew your prescription, you should contact your medical centre. If you're well, they may be happy to renew your prescription without seeing you, or they may offer to talk with you by telephone or online. Ask if these options are available for you.

Your medical centre can send your prescription to your preferred pharmacy. Before going to the pharmacy, please phone them to arrange the best way to get your prescription.

Illness or isolating at home isn't a barrier to getting your prescription and other medicines from your pharmacy. You can:

Note, there may be a small additional charge from your medical centre or pharmacy for additional services such as sending prescriptions or delivering your medicines.

Written by Portfolio Manager, Canterbury DHB Pharmacy. Page created March 2020.

Page reference: 728194

Review key: HICOV-710714