Why has the brand of my medicine changed?

There can be several reasons why the brand of your medicine may change. The following page may help you understand why and how changes to funded medicines and devices happen in New Zealand.

Common reasons for brand changes

There can be several reasons why the brand of your medicine may change, such as:

  • the manufacturer of the medicine no longer supplies it
  • the manufacturer has changed the name of the medicine
  • the brand of medicine is no longer subsidised by PHARMAC and has been replaced by another brand
  • there is a shortage in the supply of the usual brand and an alternative is sought temporarily.

Medicine registration and funding in New Zealand

In New Zealand, all medicines must be approved for sale by Medsafe, a division of the New Zealand Ministry of Health. Once medicines are approved by Medsafe, manufacturers usually also apply for the medicine to be subsidised under the Pharmac tender system.


Medsafe is the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority. It is a business unit of the Ministry of Health and is the authority responsible for the regulation of therapeutic products in New Zealand. Read more about Medsafe.


Pharmac is the New Zealand government agency that decides which medicines and medical devices are funded in New Zealand. Manufacturers of prescription medicines usually apply for their medicine to be subsidised under the Pharmac tender system, which the government pays some of the cost of medicines for patients. Every now and again, Pharmac may change the subsidised brand of some medicines.

Learn more about why these changes happen, and what to do if you are concerned about these changes – see brand changes: questions and answers for patients Pharmac, NZ

If you are concerned about changes to your medicines or have any questions about your medicines, talk to your pharmacist.

Learn more

The following links have more information about how medicines are approved and funded in New Zealand.

Medicines control Ministry of Health, NZ  
Medsafe's evaluation and approval process
Medsafe, NZ
Pharmac's role in the health system
 Pharmac, NZ
How medicines are funded Pharmac, NZ
Brand and funding changes Pharmac, NZ
New medicines – from development to funding Pharmac, NZ

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 25 Jul 2019