About the NZULM

The NZ Universal List of Medicines (NZULM) is a dictionary of trusted, standardised information about medicines covering medicines approved for supply in New Zealand as well as products listed in PHARMAC's Pharmaceutical Schedule which fall outside this category. It also includes medicines imported under Section 29 of the Medicines Act.

The NZULM brings together medicines information from Medsafe, PHARMAC and the Pharmacy Guild into a single standardised product, using the “common medicines language” in the New Zealand Medicines Terminology (NZMT). Information includes:

  • whether a medicine is approved for use in New Zealand
  • what restrictions, if any, apply
  • whether it is subsidised and the level of subsidy, and
  • any conditions that apply.


The NZULM is intended for use – as a standardised data set – by 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 (essentially a ‘drug dictionary’), or used to augment existing databases. It will assist participants 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 for needed for clinical, administrative, governance and planning uses, and
  • expand the range of reliable clinical decision support services available.


The NZULM was released for general use in July 2011. NZULM information can be accessed through the NZULM website, via smart phone apps on Android, iPhone and Windows phones, phones, and through clinical decision support systems.

It is also used in clinical management systems for prescribing, dispensing and administering medicines in primary and secondary care. 

Pātiki and Waharua Kōpito patterns

The NZULM is free to use

The New Zealand Universal List of Medicines is the standard source of commonly-used information about medicines in New Zealand. It is the primary naming and coding database for medicines in the NZ health sector, and is used in most medical and pharmacy software.