New Zealand Formulary launch

News article

26 July 2012

The New Zealand Formulary has been established to give health professionals a single place to find information about medicines.

Previously, health professionals have needed to look for medicines information in a number of places and often, this information was out of date.

That has made the process of prescribing, dispensing and administering medicines more difficult than it needed to be.

At the end of 2007, the New Zealand medicines strategy – Actioning Medicines New Zealand – proposed the development and implementation of a New Zealand Medicines Formulary.

The New Zealand Formulary is based on the British National Formulary and has been specifically adapted for the New Zealand environment. 

The Ministry of Health has funded the development and running of the NZF. It’s available online from the New Zealand Formulary website.

It provides up-to-date clinical information about the use of medicines in one place, alongside PHARMAC and Medsafe data. Its use will be free of charge for health professionals.

Built on the NZULM (New Zealand Universal List of Medicines) and coded using standardised medicines terminology, over time it will be integrated into clinical health IT systems including prescribing and dispensing systems across primary and secondary care.

Information it provides includes:

  • monograph information on medicines such as indications, dosages, side effects and warnings
  • concise disease management advice relating to pharmaceutical options
  • PHARMAC subsidy information 
  • medicines classification information
  • medicines use in special cases such as renal and hepatic impairment, pregnancy, lactation and sport
  • drug interactions via Stockley’s interaction alerts

The NZF is a partnership between BPACnz, BPACinc and the UK-based Royal Pharmaceutical Society (which has 50 percent ownership of the British National Formulary). 

The NZULM is a precursor to a number of electronic medicines initiatives related to the optimal use of medicines including the NZMF.