What practices need to know about NZULM

Practice news
17 November 2016

Mapping of the New Zealand Universal List of Medicines (NZULM) and the MIMS data-source was completed last year, allowing NZULM data to be available in full to practices through their clinical software or practice management systems.

Electronic prescriptions generated through the New Zealand ePrescription Service (NZePS) use NZULM identifier codes, allowing community pharmacy systems to identify the prescribed medicines. 


What information about medicines does the NZULM contain?

information on whether a medicine is approved for use in New Zealand
what legal restrictions (if any) apply
whether it is subsidised and the level of subsidy
any subsidy conditions that apply to a medicine’s use

How can the NZULM be accessed?

You can access NZULM information through your clinical software or practice management system. It is integrated in all systems providing electronic prescribing support. You can also access NZULM information directly through the NZULM website or through the NZ Formulary website.

How did you create the ‘inviting atmosphere’ mentioned in the report?

“Happy staff, happy life” as the saying goes – you can have the most comfortable luxurious surroundings that money can buy, but if your front line reception and nursing staff are not welcoming and supportive, patients will not return - not to mention of course having doctors practicing good science with compassion. Our physical surroundings are important to us – we have to work here so comfort, privacy, security and cleanliness are important factors in creating an inviting atmosphere.  Most importantly we try to have a level playing field approach with our interpersonal relationships of support, genuine respect, sense of humour and spirit of generosity towards each other and I think that is what creates an ‘inviting atmosphere’.

What does it cost?

Nothing. It’s a free service from the Ministry of Health.

What information WON’T be found in the NZULM?​

1. Clinical decision support to clinicians - the New Zealand Formulary (NZF) provides this. The NZF builds on the NZULM by adding information such as indications, contraindications, interactions, prescriber guidance, etc.
2. Information on individual medicines from sources other than the NZ Medicines Terminology, the Pharmaceutical Schedule from PHARMAC, Medsafe and the New Zealand Pharmacy Guild.

What information sources are used in the NZULM?

NZULM brings together medicines information from Medsafe, PHARMAC and the Pharmacy Guild into a single standardised product, using a “common medicines language.”

How often is the NZULM updated?

The NZULM is updated monthly in accordance with the Pharmaceutical Schedule update cycle. The data download file available on the first of a given month contains pharmaceutical schedule information applicable to that month.
Clinical software is updated monthly to ensure it provides up-to-date information.

What are the intended uses of the NZULM?

The NZULM provides an up-to-date, one-stop-shop of core and commonly used information about medicines and other appropriate products and devices in New Zealand. This includes product descriptions, strength, active ingredient and pack size.

It is intended for those prescribing, dispensing or administering medicines, those who create medicines information databases and systems, and those who analyse and report about medicines. 

The NZULM can be used as a master database or to augment existing databases. It will help those in the health sector to:
avoid preventable prescribing, dispensing and administration errors which affect patient safety and quality of care
improve the efficiency of clinical and business processes
avoid duplication of effort in assembling and sharing medication lists and other information about medicines
improve the reliability of medicines related data needed for clinical, administrative, governance and planning uses
expand the range of reliable clinical decision support services available
exchange and analyse information about medicines usage

For more information on NZULM, visit the New Zealand Universal List of Medicines website.