How much will it cost to get my prescription filled at a pharmacy?
If you are eligible for publicly-funded healthcare, your prescription will be subsidised and you’ll only have to pay five dollars per item (as long as the prescription was written by your usual PHO doctor and it was for a fully-subsidised medicine). For children under the age of 13, there is no charge for a subsidised prescription medicine.
You might pay more than five dollars for a prescription medicine if:
- you are not eligible for the prescription medicine subsidy
- the medicine is not fully subsided.
- the health provider who wrote the prescription is not a DHB-approved provider
Also, not all after-hours (“urgent”) pharmacies are funded to provide subsidised medicine to under-13s for free. In this case you would be charged five dollars for each prescription item. You can find a pharmacy which is funded using this HealthPoint webpage.
If you have a Community Services Card or High Use Health Card, these may entitle you to a reduction in the cost of prescription medications in certain circumstances. More about this is on the Ministry of Health website.
Prescription Subsidy Card
If you’ve collected 20 new prescription medicine items within the year starting 1 February, you’ll be entitled to a Pharmaceutical Subsidy Card, you won’t have to pay for more than 20 prescription items in any one year.
The card doesn’t cover the cost of any remedies, supplements or medicines which you can buy over the counter (without a prescription), and you would still have to pay the full cost of any non-subsidised medicines.
The Prescription Subsidy Card works best if you always go to the same pharmacy - your pharmacist keeps count of any prescriptions they fill for you, and will issue you with a card if and when you have paid for 20 new prescriptions since 1 February of any year. If you always go to the same pharmacy, you won’t need to show them the card because the details of your scripts will already be on their records. If it isn’t possible or convenient for you to go to the same pharmacy, save all of your (and your family’s) prescription receipts. When you get to 20, take them to a pharmacy and request a card.
More information about the pricing of prescription medicines is on the Pharmac website.
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Will I have to pay to get a diagnostic blood test done?
Not usually. Most diagnostic testing is publicly-funded if you are eligible for publicly-funded healthcare. Some tests are only free if they are ordered by your doctor. Your doctor can tell you if you will have to pay for a particular diagnostic lab test.
Tests are not publicly-funded if:
- they are for pre-employment and employment purposes, immigration or travel visa applications
- you have ordered them without a referral from your GP, or they are ordered by a non-medical practitioner (e.g. dentist)