Frequently Asked Questions

How long will my prescription take?

At Vivian Pharmacy, we try to be as prompt and efficient as possible when dispensing your medicines. As well as selecting the correct medication on the prescription we must assess that it is safe and appropriate for the age, weight and condition of the person taking the medicine. Sometimes we need to discuss your treatment with the person who wrote the prescription but we will always let you know if there will be a delay. If you have been waiting longer than 15 minutes please notify our staff.

How much will my prescription cost?

Many medicines in New Zealand are subsidised by the Government. You make a small contribution to the cost of the medicines you receive when you pay a prescription charge, which is $5 for each subsidised medication. Prescriptions for children under 13s are free. If your medicine is not fully subsidised, there may be an additional cost. Please talk to our staff for further information.

Please note, prescriptions from specialists and dentists (not from your hospital visits) will incur a co-payment of up to $15, unless you have a Communivty Services Card. Please refer to the section below to find out how a Community Services Card can help to lower the costs of your medicines.

I have a Community Services Card, how does this help?

The Community Services Card (CSC) entitles the holder and their family to a reduction in the cost of prescriptions. If you have a prescription from specialists (orthopedics, psychiatrists, dermatologists, etc.) or dentists, your co-payment will be $5 only for fully-subsidised medicines. However, if a medicine is not fully subsidised, there may be an additional cost. Please ask our staff if you would like to know how much medicines would cost when you hand in your prescription.

To find out more about Community Services Card, please visit Work and Income website:

What is a Prescription Subsidy Card?

Once you and your family (partner and dependent children aged from 13 to 18) have collected 20 new prescription items in a year (between 1st of February and 31st of January), you can get a prescription subsidy card. This means you won’t have to pay any more prescription charges until 1st of February the following year. This prescription subsidy card applies to pharmacies nationwide, so make sure you carry it with you, or mention it to the pharmacies that are not your regular pharmacy.

Please note that as there is no prescription charge on items for children under 13 years, these items cannot be counted as part of the 20-item threshold.

How long is a prescription valid for?

Generally, a prescription is valid for government funding for 3 months (90 days) from the date it is written by a New Zealand registered Doctor. However, you can still get your prescription dispensed 6 months after it has been written, but without government funding (i.e you pay the full cost of the medicine).

Please note, a triplicate Controlled Drug prescription (for Morphine, Oxycodone, etc.) will be valid for 7 days only.

What does it mean when I have repeats on my medicine?

When the label on your medicine says that there is a “repeat” or “repeats” it means that a further supply is available from that pharmacy up until the date stated on the label. The Pharmaceutical Management Agency, PHARMAC, sets dispensing frequency for some medicines to 1 month (30 days) at a time. So you can return for a further supply without presenting another prescription. Please make sure you return to the pharmacy where the original prescription was presented to collect you subsequent “repeats”.

Under the following circumstances, you are eligible to receive more than one month’s supply of your medicines:
1. have limited physical mobility, or
2. live and work more than 30 minutes from the nearest pharmacy by their normal form of transport, or
3. are relocating to another area, or
4. are travelling extensively and will be out of town when the repeat prescriptions are due.

Can I have my medicine delivered?

Yes. Vivian Pharmacy offers a daily delivery service and we will deliver to your area free once a week. If you require an urgent delivery away from the day that is your “free” day then a $5 delivery charge will apply. Please see below for the zoned map, where you can find out when your free delivery day is.

Please contact us on 758 8263 (option 3) or email [email protected] to find out more or to organise a delivery.

What are the side effects of my medicine?

All medicines can have side effects. When you pick up your medicine our staff will endeavour to inform you of any side effects that you could expect. Some effects are common such as nausea or tummy upset or can be less common such as a rash or headache.

Written information is available for you to take away and read. Please ask one of our pharmacists if you require a more in-depth discussion on side effects or expected outcomes from your medicines. We have a private consulting area available if required.

What happens if I miss a dose of my medicine?

Please contact us on 06 7588263 or [email protected] to discuss. Most of the time one missed dose will not be a major problem but if medicines are not taken regularly as they are prescribed then the outcomes can be less than expected.

Never take double the medication dose to “catch up” for missed doses. Always contact us for the appropriate action.

I keep forgetting to take my medicine – what can I do?

Taking medications at the correct times can be difficult if you have a few different tablets or capsules to remember. Our Medicine Sachet System is designed to take the hassle out of remembering and put all of your medicines in an easy to use system. Contact our sachet team on 06 7588263 (press option 2) or email us on [email protected] to find out more.

Please click here for more information on this service and the costs involved. We offer a month trial free of charge if you are interested.

What questions should I expect to be asked for Pharmacist-Only Medicines?

You will be asked about your symptoms – what they are, how long you have had them and whether they have changed. If our pharmacist thinks it is necessary, you will be advised to see your doctor. You may also be given advice on how to help the problem without taking a medicine. The pharmacist may choose not to sell you a Pharmacist-Only medicine, even if you have specifically requested it. The decision rests with the pharmacist.

You may also be asked about other medicines you are using. You should tell your pharmacist about all medicines and other remedies or supplements you take – including those prescribed by your doctor, and those bought from a pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop (including eye drops, nasal sprays, ointments, skin patches, herbal remedies and dietary supplements etc.). Our pharmacist needs to know about all the other medicines you are taking because some medicines can cause others to be less effective, or react with others to cause unpleasant or even dangerous side-effects.

Our pharmacist will also need to know whether you are suffering from any other medical conditions. This is because a medicine taken to improve one condition can make another unrelated condition worse. The pharmacist may also ask if you have ever had any allergies or reactions to a medicine. Always remember to tell the pharmacist if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.

(Source: Medsafe – New Zealand Medicines and Medical Device Safety Authority)

What are “Pharmacist-Only Medicines”?

Pharmacist-Only Medicines or Restricted Medicines are a group of medicines that can be purchased from a pharmacist without a doctor’s prescription. They are not available for self-selection from the pharmacy shelves, and the pharmacists will ask you a number of questions before selling to make sure you are properly informed about the safe and correct use of your medicines. Please do not be embarrassed or annoyed by the questions, as the pharmacists need to confirm what the problem is and suggest an appropriate treatment, in a similar way to a doctor prescribing a medicine.

The following conditions can be treated with Pharmacist-Only Medicines:
● eye infections
● fungal infections of the toe or finger nails
● hayfever or allergies
● haemorrhoids
● mouth ulcers
● migraine/ tension headache
● nausea caused by migraine
● skin problems such as itching, rashes, inflamed fungal infections
● thrush of the mouth
● thrush of the vagina
● pain and inflammation
● coldsores
● urinary tract infection
● emergency contraceptive pill
● erectile dysfunction

We do have a private consultation area, so please do not hesitate to ask if you want to speak to our pharmacists privately.
(Source: Medsafe – New Zealand Medicines and Medical Device Safety Authority)

What health advice do you offer?

Our pharmacists can provide a wide range of medications for common and less-serious illnesses and conditions. This range from common cold and flu, allergies and hayfever, minor injuries, pain management, etc.
We also offer consultations to provide Pharmacist-Only medicines, please refer to the Pharmacist-Only Medicines section below. Please do not hesitate to speak to our fully-qualified pharmacists for more advice regarding your medications or medical conditions.

What hours are you open?

Mondays to Fridays 8.30am to 8.00pm

Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays 9.00am to 5.00pm

We are only closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day