Special Authority

Special Authority is an application process in which a prescriber requests government subsidy on a Community Pharmaceutical for a particular person.

Once approved, the prescriber is given a Special Authority number which must appear on the prescription. The Special Authority number can provide:

  • access to subsidy
  • increased subsidy, or
  • waive certain restrictions otherwise present on the Community Pharmaceutical.

Connecting to the Electronic Special Authority System

Electronic Special Authority is a service available through the Connected Health Information Service Network.

  • Electronic Special Authority applications return a response in seconds.
  • Paper Special Authority application forms are processed within 10 working days.

To apply for Special Authority numbers electronically, you need:

  • Connected Health access: Your practice or organisation must be approved for Connected Health access and must connect to the system using an approved Connected Health network
    • Connected Health approval: The Ministry of Health approves applications to enable the safe sharing of trusted health information
    • Connected Health Network: The connected health network is delivered by multiple telecommunication service providers
  • Digital certificate: All users of the system must use a HealthSecure digital certificate.
  • Letter of audit: All users of the system must return a signed letter of audit, as applications may be audited against the criteria set out in PHARMAC’s Pharmaceutical Schedule.

DHB users: Contact your local hospital IT department to get the process started. Most DHBs are set up for the electronic system and only require a letter of audit to access it.

Once you have these conditions in place, you’ll use your Practice ID and registration number to log into the system.

As part of access to Electronic Special Authority, you are also able to access:

  • Patient Entitlements system (prescription subsidy cards), and
  • Online Special Authority (allows you to look-up your patient's special authority history).   

Access Online Special Authority

Several Practice Management systems have Electronic Special Authority integrated into their system. Contact your software vendor to check if your system has an integrated version.

If you need help using the system or have any issues submitting an application, email [email protected] or call 0800 855 066 between 8 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday.

PHARMAC set the criteria for Special Authority. If you have any questions about the criteria, contact PHARMAC on 0800 66 00 50.

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