Pharmaceutical Collection

The Pharmaceutical Collection is a data warehouse that supports the management of pharmaceutical subsidies. It contains claim and payment information from pharmacists for subsidised dispensings.



The Pharmaceutical Collection is a data warehouse that supports the management of pharmaceutical subsidies.


The Pharmaceutical Collection contains claim and payment information from pharmacists for subsidised dispensings that have been processed by the Sector Operations General Transaction Processing System (GTPS).

As at July 2012, the Pharmaceutical Collection holds claims for around 840 million scripts.

Start date

The collection was started in 1 July 1992. Records from before 1996 have been archived, but can be made available on request.

Guide for use

The Pharmaceutical Collection has undergone two major changes since 1992:

  • repeat prescriptions were introduced in 1996, and
  • the major drug key changed from Medicode (allocated by Sector Services) to Pharmacode (pharmacy stock code) in 1998.

Other small structural changes are made to the Pharmaceutical Collection each year.

All money values are assumed to be inclusive of GST, unless otherwise stated.

Identification of co-prescribing, which is the analysis of drugs being prescribed and taken together, has been a problem with historical data.

Collection methods – guide for providers

The main source of the data is Sector Operations’ GTPS. Additional data is provided by:

  • Statistics NZ (Geographical and Census data; claimant data is geocoded by the National Collections and Reporting geocoding engine)
  • Sector Operations (provider reference data)
  • PHARMAC (the Pharmac Schedule and mappings).

Frequency of updates

National Collections and Reporting receives monthly extracts from Sector Operations and PHARMAC.

Security of data

The Pharmaceutical Collection is accessed by authorised National Collections and Reporting and PHARMAC staff for maintenance, data quality, audit and analytical purposes.

Authorised members of the Ministry of Health and DHBs have access to the Pharmaceutical Collection for analytical purposes, via Business Objects and the secure Health Information Network. Business Objects contains a subset of the data described in the Data Dictionary.

Access to the Pharmaceutical Collection requires approval from the Ministry of Health.

Please note, Business Objects is currently being decommissioned.

Privacy issues

The Ministry of Health is required to ensure that the release of information recognises any legislation related to the privacy of health information, in particular the Official Information Act 1982, the Privacy Act 2020 and the Health Information Privacy Code 2020.

Information available to the general public is of a statistical and non-identifiable nature. Researchers requiring identifiable data will usually need approval from an Ethics Committee.

National Collections and Reporting is responsible for the privacy of NHI-related information. NHIs were provided for approx 97 percent of dispensings in 2010.

National reports and publications

Summarised pharmaceutical data can be accessed using the Pharmaceutical data web tool and in PHARMAC's annual reports available on their website.

Data provision

If approval is provided, customised datasets or summary reports are available on request, either electronically or on paper. Staff from the Analytical Services team can help to define the specifications for a request and are familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the data.

The Analytical Services team also offer a peer review service to ensure that data from the national collections is reported appropriately when published by other organisations.

There may be charges associated with data extracts.

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