What services do pharmacies offer?

Apart from dispensing medicines, pharmacies offer a range of services to keep you and your family well.

Some pharmacies provide more services than others. If you are unsure about which services your pharmacy provides, give them a call. Here are some examples of services pharmacies can provide.

On this page, you can find the following information:

COVID-19 – How your pharmacy can help you

Pharmacies are staying open to the public through all levels of the COVID-19 Protection Framework as they are an essential service

Remember not to enter pharmacies if you have symptoms, or suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, your pharmacy can help you with the following:

  • Getting your medicines: If you have problems picking up your medicine from your pharmacy, speak to your pharmacist. Someone else (family/whānau member, friend or carer) may be able to visit the pharmacy to collect your medicines for you, or ask your pharmacy if they can deliver to your home.
  • Managing your COVID symptoms: If you are unwell with COVID symptoms, and require medications for fever, aches, cough, diarrhoea and runny nose, call your pharmacy. Your pharmacist can recommend medicines that are suitable for you, especially if you are taking medicines to treat other conditions.
  • Getting your COVID vaccinations: You and your whānau can get COVID vaccinations, including your booster, from your pharmacy. Book your vaccine online or find a walk-in pharmacy.  
  • Rapid antigen testing: Some pharmacies are offering supervised rapid antigen testing (RAT) to help detect COVID-19. To find a pharmacy offering RAT services, check Healthpoint.

Always be kind to the pharmacy staff. They are on the frontline of the COVID pandemic. It can be frustrating that sometimes the line is long and waiting times longer than they used to be, but please be kind and respectful.  

Treating minor ailments and health conditions

Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals with the clinical know-how to give you the help you need. They can assess your minor illness and recommend the right treatment, whether it’s over-the-counter medicines, a few days rest or a bit of reassurance.

Examples of minor health concerns  
  • Sore throats
  • Coughs, colds and flu
  • Tummy troubles
  • Aches and pains
  • Red eyes, conjunctivitis
  • Thrush
  • Migraine
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Sleeping problems
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Constipation and diarrhoea
  • Earache
  • Allergies
  • First aid and wound care
  • Warts

Some pharmacies may also be able to help you with the following:

Health checks

Some pharmacies offer health screening tests, like testing blood pressure, blood glucose and blood cholesterol. Early detection and prevention are key to improved long-term health. Always call your pharmacy to find out if they offer these checks and whether an appointment is necessary. With your approval, they may be able to send your results on to your doctor. 

Examples of health care checks offered by pharmacies
  • Blood glucose testing
  • Blood pressure
  • Bone density scanning
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Bowel health screening
  • Iron testing
  • Zinc testing

Inhalers and devices

  • Your pharmacist can also show you how to use devices such as asthma inhalers, diabetes blood test kits, blood pressure machines and air humidifiers.
  • Many pharmacies have a range of medical equipment available for hire, including crutches, vaporisers, nebulisers, walkers and even wheelchairs.

Vaccinations

New Zealand pharmacists who have completed an approved vaccinator training course can administer a variety of vaccines including the flu vaccine, measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine, meningococcal vaccine and shingles vaccine.  Always call your pharmacy ahead of time to find out if they offer this service, the cost and whether they can order the vaccine for you.

Medicines packaging such as blister packs

Many pharmacies offer a service where your medicines can be packaged into blister packs or rolls of sachets. This type of packaging can help you to take all the right medicine at the right time. It can also make it easier to see if you have missed a dose or are running out. Blister packing is also useful if you are travelling, as it avoids having to take multiple containers. Your medicines can be supplied weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on your needs.

Safe disposal of expired medicines

If you have leftover medicines, take them to your pharmacy for safe disposal. Do not keep old medicines because you think you may need them in the future. This is one way to avoid accidental ingestion, either by yourself or others, including children. Do not throw medicines in the rubbish or flush them down the toilet. This can harm the environment. For more information talk to your local pharmacist.

Read more about returning expired or unused medicines to your pharmacy

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Alastair Shum BPharm, MPS Senior Advisory Pharmacist, Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (Inc) Last reviewed: 11 Mar 2022