Many medicines are subsidised by the government. The prescription charge (co-payment) is a small contribution people pay towards the cost of the medicines they receive. For most people, this charge is $5 for each new prescription item. New Zealanders can reduce their medicine costs through the prescription subsidy scheme.
What is a prescription subsidy?
The subsidy is aimed at reducing costs for families and people who are prescribed a lot of medicines.
You become eligible for the subsidy once you have paid for 20 new prescription medicine items from 1 February each year. Once you're eligible, you do not have to pay any more prescription charges for the rest of that year (to 31 January).
You can reach the 20-item threshold by combining prescription items for your partner and dependent children aged from 14 up to 18.
Just tell your regular pharmacist the names of all the people in your family to help them keep track of how many items you've paid for.
This information is gathered electronically so you no longer need to keep your receipts.
Please note, as there is no prescription charge on items for children aged 13 and under, these items can’t be counted as part of the 20-item threshold.
How do I qualify for a prescription subsidy?
Talk to your pharmacist and make sure he or she knows the names and ages of all the people in your family.
Your pharmacist will check the electronic records to see how many prescriptions you (and any eligible family members) have paid for since 1 February and if the total is 20 or more you’ll qualify for a prescription subsidy.
Any pharmacy can check your eligibility.
Are there any other charges for my medicine?
As not all medicines are funded, discuss any questions you have about prescription charges with your pharmacist.