Published: 13 April 2020

Medicines

COVID-19 – Visitors to New Zealand who need more of their regular prescribed medicine

This advice applies only during the COVID-19 situation and may be reviewed at any time.

Medicines that require regular monitoring
Medicines that are controlled drugs in New Zealand
Sending your prescribed medicines to New Zealand
If you have questions

Some visitors who have entered New Zealand recently may have brought with them enough of their regular prescribed medicine to last for the duration of their stay. If the COVID-19 situation means an extended stay in New Zealand, visitors may need more of their regular prescribed medicine.

Medicines that require regular monitoring

Visitors who are taking medicine that requires regular monitoring such as blood tests should seek medical advice from a New Zealand doctor. If you are unsure, please contact MedClearance as described below for further information.

Medicines that are controlled drugs in New Zealand

Medicines that are controlled drugs cannot be imported into New Zealand without a licence, even if they have been prescribed for you. If your medicine is a controlled drug, you may be able to have it prescribed by a doctor in New Zealand. We recommend that you speak to a New Zealand doctor for advice. If you are unsure, contact MedClearance as described below for further information

Further information about importing controlled drugs.

Having your prescribed medicines sent to New Zealand

If your prescribed medicine is for ongoing treatment of an existing health condition, and can be obtained from your home country, then it can be sent to New Zealand if:

  • the medicine has been lawfully supplied
  • it is clearly labelled in the original or pharmacy packaging
  • it is less than three months’ supply and
  • it is accompanied with a copy of a doctor’s prescription or letter.

Following these steps means that you may not need to be contacted for further information about the imported medicine. It would also be helpful to include your contact details.

If the imported medicine is one which requires monitoring, or if certain other conditions are not met, you may be asked for more information when the medicine arrives in New Zealand.

Medsafe may require a New Zealand doctor’s permission for this or any subsequent importations.

If you have questions

If you are unsure of the process, or whether you can arrange for importation of your medicines, you can email Medsafe at medclearance@health.govt.nz with your request.

Please include the following information in the email:

  • the name of the patient the medicine is for
  • contact details of the patient or the person requesting the information
  • the reason for the delayed stay in New Zealand
  • details of the medicine to be imported, such as brand name, active ingredient, strength, quantity (amount) of medicine to be supplied and dosage instructions
  • where the medicine is coming from, and who originally prescribed it
  • If you have a copy of the original prescription or doctor’s letter, it would be helpful to include this also.
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