May 2020

Pink Book General Advice and Introduction

Prescribing Instructions for Medicines

  • Amended title, to state explicitly that these instructions are for medicines.
  • Under All Outpatient and Discharge Prescriptions, new information has been added about prescription writing and delivery. From 6 May 2020:
    • writing a prescription will predominantly occur via creating an electronic prescription; and
    • delivery of a prescription to community pharmacy within Canterbury will predominantly occur electronically.
  • Exceptions to electronic prescription writing and delivery are controlled drugs and delivery of prescriptions to pharmacies outside of Canterbury.
  • Under All Outpatient and Discharge Prescriptions, the Controlled Drugs section has been updated. Requirements for these medicines in the new, predominantly electronic environment, are detailed.
  • Under All Outpatient and Discharge Prescriptions, there is a new section titled Pharmacies that cannot receive prescriptions electronically via ERMS. It provides details for alternate prescription delivery options (such as email) for delivery of prescription to pharmacies outside Canterbury.


Hospital electronic prescribing for community dispensing: An electronically written prescription, delivered electronically to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice, has been a vision for CDHB for some time. It offers benefits to patients, such as reduced waiting for prescriptions. It improves documentation of medicines prescribed, allowing healthcare professionals greater access to up-to-date information when caring for patients.

United Against COVID-19

Interest in contactless provision of prescriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the Ministry of Health to issue a waiver. This removed the requirement for an electronic prescription to have a prescriber’s signature, if the prescription and transmission of the prescription meet certain criteria.

CDHB has generated a waiver-compliant prescription in Health Connect South (HCS), and secure delivery mechanism to community pharmacy via the Electronic Referral Management System (ERMS). Both are available now, and replace paper prescriptions in nearly all situations.


Medicines to treat COVID-19: Interest in medicines to treat COVID-19 has led the Christchurch Medicines Information Service to provide evidence-based information to health professionals and the My Medicines team to provide evidence-based information for patients on their respective websites.


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Topic Code: 748555