Pharmacies are partners in the West Coast Health System. They distribute prescription medicines and give health advice for non-urgent conditions. Most West Coast pharmacies are privately owned and operated.
Learn more about pharmacists and medications and pharmacy & medications on the Healthinfo website. Or learn about prescription renewals and how to get them.
You can also find West Coast pharmacies by location on the Healthpoint website or by searching for “pharmacy” on Google Maps. Google Maps should show pharmacies in your area if you have location services on your smartphone or another device.
Currently West Coast pharmacies do not provide an after hours service.
The Government subsidises many prescription medicines in New Zealand. For most people, subsidised prescriptions will cost $5 each.
These prescriptions are free for children under 13 years old.
Subsidised prescriptions are often generic medicines .
Families who collect 20 prescription items in a year are eligible for a subsidy, so they won’t have to pay any more prescription fees until February the following year. Find out more about prescription subsidies at the Ministry of Health website .
Some prescriptions will cost more than $5 if they not subsidised or only partially subsidised. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the costs for your prescription.
Non-prescription medicines and other items
Pharmacies sell non-prescription medicine such as basic pain relief and cough medicine. Each pharmacy decides its own costs for these medicines and any other items it might sell.
Pharmacies can give you free advice on how to treat basic illnesses and injuries.
Pharmacies are a good source of information and advice about treating minor illnesses and injuries.
Consider talking to a pharmacist for advice about:
Read our advice on where to go when you are sick [link to new “Where do I go when I am sick?” page in Using the Health System].
If you are very unwell…
In an emergency call 111.
If you need a diagnosis or medical care, call your GP (family doctor) at any time of the day or night to talk to a nurse or book an appointment.
These are medications that don’t have a “brand name”. They are made by a company that did not invent the medicine, and are usually cheaper. They have the same active ingredient and side effects as better-known brands of the same drug.
The Government often subsidises prescriptions of a generic version of a well-known medicine. This means the generic version may cost you as little as $5 with a prescription.
Pharmac has more information on generic medicines [https://www.pharmac.govt.nz/about/your-guide-to-pharmac/factsheet-06-generics-and-biosimilars/].
Page last updated: 7 January 2020
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