Customers are stripping shelves bare of products in Hawke's Bay but pharmacists are generally pleased with their behaviour.
While many pharmacy staff are working off their feet some are offering home deliveries to those who are sick and unable to personally place orders or pick them up.
Bay pharmacists are calling on people not to stockpile medicines, shortly after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's announcement on Tuesday the country will go into lock down at 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Hawke's Bay DHB planning and commissioning manager Di Vicary said a pharmacy had reported it had dispensed 300 per cent more prescriptions on Tuesday than usual. Other teams were flirting with a midnight deadline to meet demands.
Vicary urged calm, saying pharmacies were an essential business that would remain open throughout the national lockdown.
"Stockpiling medicines makes it more difficult for pharmacists, doctors and Pharmac to avoid shortages for everyone," she said.
"We all have a part to play in using health services responsibly at this challenging time so people who need care most don't have to wait longer than they should.
"People should not ask for more than these normal amounts — in other words, please do not try to 'stockpile' your regular medicines," she said.
Due to a surge in demand, non-urgent prescriptions were unlikely to be dispensed on the same day.
Gees Pharmacy owner/pharmacist Chris Marshall said they didn't have any issues as such, with a few customers understandably displaying some frustration but when the Covid-19 virus situation was explained, they were very obliging.
Marshall said staff posted at the entrance to their Taradale premises were screening people to ensure they weren't sick.
After sanitising customers they were letting them sit in the store.
"We let in four to five patients into the shop at any one time so that they are well distanced," he said.
"Luckily we have a pretty big shop so we can keep them separated."
To avoid loitering, he said, they were asking people to exit the premises until their orders were ready.
Marshall confirmed there was a dearth of hand sanitiser and face masks but envisaged it would be back to normal soon.
"We hope it'll correct itself over time because we've got orders coming in all the time so we're expecting quite big shipments to be coming in in the next week or two."
He said the objective was to dispense medication as cheaply as they could to help those in need, in keeping with fellow pharmacists in the Bay.
A spokesman at Denton's Peak Pharmacy in Havelock North echoed the sentiments of Marshall.
"Customers are quite respectful and that's good but we're exceedingly busy," he said.
People have been urged to ensure they have enough of their regular medicines for at least one to two weeks.
When it is time to renew your prescription, contact your medical centre. If you are well, they may be happy to renew your prescription without being seen, or they may offer to talk with you by telephone or online. Ask if these options are available for you.
Illness or isolating at home is not a barrier to obtaining prescriptions and other medicines.
Your medical centre can send your prescription to your preferred pharmacy.
You can then either have a family member, friend or carer collect the medicines on your behalf or ask your pharmacy to arrange delivery to your home.
Medical centres or pharmacies may levy a nominal additional charge for the additional services.