Travelling to New Zealand with UC

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted Today 12:13 PM (GMT -6)   
I have been living with UC since Jan 2005. I am currently in remission by taking 1g of Pentasa suppository and 2grams of Osalazine tablets every day.

As of next year, my partner and I would like to go travelling to New Zealand on a 2 year tourist work visa. After checking with my GP, they will only give me 3 months maximum of medication. I am now concerned about how i will manage to access this medication whilst abroad. Can anyone give any advice on whether I can receive prescriptions in NZ for a pre-exisiting medical condition without being a resident? Would I have to pay for the medication in full? If so, does anyone know how much these drugs cost? I feel like I have come up against a brick wall and my IBD doctor is not able to give me any advice. I'm assuming other UC suffers on medication have travelled the world for longer than 2 months.

Any advice that you can spare me would be much appreciated.

Thank you

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 52
   Posted Today 9:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Even though I was just diagnosed with colitis, I studied abroad last year for four months (in London) and experienced HELL trying to get insurance to approve my 4 months worth of birth control!!  I would definitely start on that first-- I know all companies are different, but I had to write a letter to insurance saying what my medication was, the dose, why I was taking it, and why I needed 4 months worth, etc....and then I still had a tough time when I went to go pay for it (they wanted me to pay full price). 
Before I left, I had to purchase international health insurance through my college, which I believe was $130 for the 4 months, even though I was lucky enough to never use it.  I heard from other students, however, that if they had to see any doctor abroad, they had to pay in full for the visit/meds and then submit the claim to insurance when they returned to the US- in hope for a late refund.  Since you're going for such a long time, I'm not sure if it's a different policy or not. 
I do know that any prescriptions from doctors in the US have absolutely no authority in other countries (my doctor did tell me this before I left).  So, my suggestion would be to immediately see a GI when you get over there, since you'll be there for awhile, and explain your situation and regular meds so you can get a script over there.  Maybe you can get a copy of ur medical records to take with you? 
I hope it works out for you, and have fun abroad!! I had an amazing time just in 4 months!  ( I travelled a whole lot)
P.S-  Money runs out fast when your abroad ! :)
Female- almost 21!
Diagnosed 9/1/08

mild UC- left sided
Meds:  Rowasa 4g
Asacol 400 mg two 3 times/day
Hyoscyamine .125mg every 4 hrs
Percocet/ Vicodin as needed


New Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/30/2008 5:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi , thanks for your post. The minsitry of health has sent me the following info.
The long and short of it is that you need to register with a GP and then get private prescriptions for the meds you need (a letter from your UK doc is required for this) and then you have to pay for the medications in full. I have gone direct to the pharmaceutical companies to check the drugs are available in NZ which they are and they have also told me a price. Next step is to contact chemists and check who sells the meds for the cheapest! Its not going to be cheap and I think 2 years is now unrealistic but least I know I can "survive" there. Just need some cash!


Eligibility for publicly funded health and disability services
While you are in New Zealand holding either a visitors or working holiday permit you will not be eligible for all publicly funded health and disability services.

However, if you are a UK citizen, there will be some services you will be eligible for.

There is a reciprocal health care agreement between New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and UK citizens can get publicly funded immediate and necessary treatment. It will not cover regular medication, however.

Details of the reciprocal agreement follow.

Reciprocal agreement
Under the Reciprocal Agreement New Zealand has with the UK, UK citizens who are:
- ordinarily reside in the UK, and
- in New Zealand temporarily
are covered for medical treatment which, in the opinion of a medical practitioner (or dental practitioner for people under 19 years) is required promptly for a condition that arose after arriving in New Zealand, or for conditions that become worse or would have become worse if treatment was not provided.

People who are not eligible for publicly funded health and disability services should get travel insurance that includes health cover. This includes people who have cover for acute conditions under reciprocal health agreements with Australia and the United Kingdom, as these agreements do not include follow up care, rehabilitation or repatriation expenses, or ongoing treatment or medicines for existing conditions. Under New Zealand law there is also very limited ability to sue for injury.


As with any person, eligible or not, you are able to obtain services from a general practitioner. A GP can prescribe any appropriate medications, provided they are licensed for use in New Zealand. If you are not eligible for that treatment, you would need to pay the full, private cost of that treatment and for the prescriptions.

To be able to get the medication you require, after arriving, register with a health service provider (doctor/general practitioner) in the area you will be living in. It will be helpful for him/her if you had a letter from your doctor in the United Kingdom or some form of documentation so that the correct medication can be prescribed to you. The charges for each doctor varies and you should ask what fees you might need to pay before confiming any appointment. For further information on what you can expect to pay in terms of fees, you could contact the Primary Health Organisation in the area you are expecting to live. You can find their contact details here:

To find out whether the medication you are currently prescribed is available, and to find out the cost, I suggest you contact a pharmacy in New Zealand. Pharmacies are privately owned, and you will find contact details for them in the New Zealand yellow pages on line.

I hope this is of some help to you and that you enjoy your stay when you do arrive here in New Zealand.

Nancy Hayden
Executive Assistant
Primary Health Policy
Health & Disability Services Policy Group
Population Health Directorate
Ministry of Health
DDI: 04 496 2004
Fax: 04 496 2344

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 9/30/2008 6:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Will you still have health insurance from your home country that could reimburse you for your overseas expenses?
26 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Monday, September 24, 2018 5:10 AM (GMT -6)
There are a total of 3,005,996 posts in 329,291 threads.
View Active Threads

Who's Online
This forum has 161818 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, demonsss.
233 Guest(s), 5 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
borrelioburgdorferii, SantaZia, M. Lowe, zack36, Mark FW