Published: 24 July, 2020


Return to stat dispensing from 1 August

Three-monthly dispensing will be reinstated for most medicines at 11.59 pm, Friday 31 July, 2020. Exceptions due to supply issues include:

  • Paracetamol, which will continue to be dispensed monthly (see: paracetamol supply issue ongoing)
  • 12 additional medicines which will continue to be dispensed monthly (including amlodipine, clomipramine, oestradiol patches, long-acting ibuprofen and ipratropium)
  • Four oral contraceptives which will continue to be restricted to three-monthly dispensing, while other oral contraceptives return to six-monthly dispensing

N.B. Medicines that were already on monthly dispensing before the temporary restrictions were applied (27 March), will continue to be dispensed monthly.

These restrictions and affected medicines are subject to change, as supply continues to be disrupted globally. Further information and a list of the medicines with dispensing restrictions in place can be found here.

Paracetamol supply issue ongoing

PHARMAC reports that there is an ongoing supply issue with 500 mg paracetamol tablets. API Consumer Brands, who supply the sole-subsidised brand, Pharmacare, have advised that due to COVID-19 there continues to be decreased manufacturing capacity at overseas plants and also difficulties getting stock into New Zealand due to limited air travel. This means that restrictions placed on dispensing of paracetamol tablets on 9 March, 2020, will remain in place. PHARMAC is working to source more paracetamol tablets as the current stock is likely to run out by the end of July.

Peer group discussions

Are you part of a peer group? Did you know that we have a catalogue of resources to assist groups or individuals in examining an aspect of primary care practice. We collate articles within a theme, provide a short summary, and pose questions for consideration and discussion to get you started. These resources are really useful for GP peer groups, or for any primary care clinician group – we hear that they are popular for medical student study groups too. You can find all of our peer group discussion topics here: https://bpac.org.nz/peer-group-discussions

Upcoming MMR campaign

Regional DHB-led campaigns aimed at improving measles immunity in those aged 15-30 years are due to be launched soon. Starting in late July, 2020 and extending until August, 2021, the aim is to increase awareness of the need for MMR vaccination and DHBs will utilise approaches in the community as well as in general practices. Additional stocks of MMR vaccine have been obtained. The campaign will focus on those aged 15-30 years, however, the Ministry of Health encourages practices to continue working to ensure that those outside of this age range also receive two doses of MMR. Practices have already been recalling people born in 1969 or after and this should continue. Many in this age group may have been incompletely vaccinated or do not know their vaccination history. If the person’s immunisation record is incomplete, the Ministry states that having a third dose of MMR is not associated with any additional safety issues.

Paper of the week: Safety and effectiveness of anticoagulants in general practice

The use of anticoagulants has changed since the introduction of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs). Initial studies of safety and effectiveness were criticised as not being applicable in the real-world, however, despite several studies aiming to address this, there has still been a lack of evidence on participants in a general practice setting. Most studies have concluded that DOACs have similar efficacy as warfarin and are probably safer, but it is queried whether these results are directly relevant to general practice due to the influence of practical issues such as individualisation for each patient, compliance, treatment changes and how to manage non-major bleeding.


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