19 March 2020

The Ministry of Health website remains the most up to date source of information about COVID-19 for New Zealand public and health professionals. The information in this e-mail is based on the current situation at the time of sending.

Providing guidance on pharmacy-specific COVID-19 questions is our upmost priority. All issues being communicated by our members are being raised with the DHBs, the Ministry of Health or other government agencies as appropriate.

Update to Close Contact Definition

It is important to note the distance in the Ministry of Health close contact definition has been changed to 2 metres.

Sector Collaboration - Pharmacy Service Provision during COVID-19 Pandemic

Following on from our communication yesterday on managing entry into the pharmacy, the Pharmaceutical Society, the Pharmacy Guild and Green Cross Health have developed a document on pharmacy service provision during the current pandemic. Version 1 provides a triage flow chart with information around options for providing services to symptomatic people or asymptomatic people in self-isolation. This tool will be expanded over the coming days to support all pharmacists. The contents may change depending on the evolving situation.

COVID-19 Information on Society Website

As mentioned in previous updates, we have created a COVID-19 section on the Society website. The contents and presentation will likely change regularly as information is updated. We will endeavour to draw your attention to important updates via e-mail but please also check the website regularly.

Medicines Supply - Communication with Royal NZ College of General Practitioners

We know the pharmacy sector is concerned that excess demand from patients concerned about future potential supply issues will create an imbalance to the national medicine supply chain and result in unnecessary stock shortages.

The Pharmaceutical Society, the Pharmacy Guild and Green Cross Health have asked the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) for prescribers to reassure patients that there is no need to panic about medicine shortages due to coronavirus and there is no need to request early prescriptions to stockpile medicines at home.

RNZCGP have agreed that by working together to manage this situation we can avoid unnecessary inequities in access to life-saving medicines and will communicate this to their members.


Manager Practice and Policy: Chris Jay
Professional Practice Pharmacist: Chloë Campbell