Much is made of free prescription charges from mega Pharmacies and Supermarkets coming to our shores from across the ditch. These are new businesses trying to establish or take a slice off the Pharmacy pie in New Zealand.
The Pharmacy Prescription charges, in a nutshell, is as follows:-
Children from the ages of 0 to 13 are FREE and have been for as long as I can remember. Repeats from prescriptions are also free and have been for ages.
Adults and those over 13 pay $5.00 a prescription item. Prescriptions often are worth more than $5.00. The Chemist collects $5.00 from the customer and the rest of the money is paid to the Pharmacy by the Government As a further assistance by the Government there is what we call a safety net which ensures that no family (Parents and dependent children 13 to 18 years of age) OR individual pays more than $100.00 on their prescriptions in one Pharmacy year. A Pharmacy year runs from February to January the next year.
When an individual or family unit gets to 20 items in the Pharmacy year then the family becomes exempt and they don’t pay any prescription charges for the rest of that Pharmacy year except for some medications which are classified as NSS (not subsidized by the Government).
Some consumers tend to go all over town to get their prescriptions. It is advisable that consumers keep track of their OR their families prescription count. For a family with parents and dependent children over the age of 13 you become exempt very quickly. All for the total cost of $100.00, you start receiving your prescriptions for free.
So for the price of petrol and abandoning your local Chemist it is really not worth the hassle of driving distances to get a prescription for free because like I said previously it doesn’t take long for the family to accumulate 20 items. (or $100.00 in total)
The Local Pharmacy or the Corner Pharmacy has been a cornerstone of New Zealand. You forget to organize a prescription and run out of your medication your friendly Pharmacy will ensure that you get 3 days supply until you are able to organize your new prescription. The corner pharmacy goes beyond what is required to ensure that customers are well looked after. Most customers are known by their first name.
For a debatable saving of maximum $100 a year per family, you can sacrifice what is a very intrinsic part of NZ landscape- the local Pharmacy or the Corner Pharmacy. The Pharmacy down the road needs your patronage more than ever before or face oblivion.
NZers are very lucky. All they pay is $100.00 (or $2.00 per week) for a year’s prescription for their whole family. It is a small charge to pay to ensure that the local Pharmacy keeps providing the excellent service that it does in New Zealand.