Important follow-up around COVID-19 response around prescribing and telehealth


Council's Chair, Dr Curtis Walker, sent the email below to all practising doctors on 26 March 2020. This was a follow-up to the previous update on 25 March and provided additional clarification around prescribing and telehealth

26 March 2020

Important follow-up to yesterday's update on COVID-19 response

We are providing an additional communication this morning, following on from yesterday's COVID-19 Update .

Prescribing Requirements

Thank you for providing feedback on the prescribing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have considered the feedback, and agree that a balance needs to be struck between ensuring stockpiling or hoarding of medications doesn't occur whilst providing a practical solution for both doctors and patients.

It remains the case that pharmacies will only dispense a maximum of one month's supply of medications at a time. This is a decision outside of Council's control.

However, you may continue to write prescriptions for up to three months, in accordance with the usual criteria that the medication remains appropriate and safe to be prescribed for the period in question. We also remind you that you must not be providing more than one 3-month prescription, as this risks stockpiling. Please see the Statement on good prescribing practice .


Many primary and secondary care services are now offering consultations by telephone or other remote technologies. This is a sensible solution given the circumstances of the national lockdown. Council's statements on Telehealth and Use of the Internet and Electronic Communication provide guidance to support your practice using these technologies.

As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions as we all work to keep our communities safe. Thank you once again for your commitment to this work, and keep well.

Noho ora mai,

Curtis Walker
Medical Council of New Zealand

Link to Council's Statements on Communication & Consent: