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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

A nation-first program in medicines supply expands pharmacists’ role

Health Industry Hub | March 3, 2023 |

Pharma News: Pharmacists will be able to supply a month of medicines after a patient’s prescription runs out and a GP is unavailable.

From Monday 6 March, Tasmanians who urgently require a new supply of their prescription-only medication can access a one-off supply from their local pharmacy in the event they are unable to access a renewed prescription.

The list of medications eligible for continued dispensing has been expanded to now cover hundreds of medications; including the oral contraceptive pill, asthma puffers, statins, and medications for the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Premier and Minister for Health, Jeremy Rockliff hailed the nation-leading expansion of medications covered by this arrangement saying that it will have a real impact on the day-to-day lives of Tasmanians.

“What we see is Tasmania once again at the front of the pack when it comes to finding innovative solutions to reduce pressure not only on the primary care sector but also our emergency departments to ensure Tasmanians can access the right care at the right time,” the Premier said.

NSW to lead expansion of pharmacists’ scope of prescribing, despite pushback from AMA, RACGP and NACCHO

“These changes will not only directly benefit patients but provide greater capacity in the system for other GP/medical appointments.

“This expansion provides another avenue for Tasmanians to access prescription medications for the treatment of ongoing conditions, whilst ensuring patient safety remains a top priority. We saw the positive impact continued dispensing had on not only individual Tasmanians but the primary care sector during the pandemic and these changes will mean this can continue.

“We know that pharmacies have the potential to play an even greater role in our communities which is why our Government commissioned a broader independent review of pharmacists’ scope of practice, to consider what other service and support pharmacists can safely provide for the community. I look forward to receiving the final report later this year.”

PSA Tasmania President, David Peachey, welcomed the announcement and congratulated the Rockliff Government on implementing a leading medicine accessibility policy.

“The Tasmanian Government, under the leadership of Premier Jeremy Rockliff, is leading the nation with allowing more equitable access to medicines for chronic but stable conditions,” Mr Peachey said.

“We are the first state to permanently allow patients on a long-term medicines for stable chronic condition to access one additional repeat supply of their essential medicines directly from their local pharmacist if they cannot access a GP for any reason.

“This means that therapy will not be interrupted if a patient loses their medicine, they run out unexpectedly, or they can’t get in to see their GP for a repeat.

“Patient safety is paramount, and we need to ensure that clinical governance measures are in place. Pharmacists will need to verify previous and recent supply of the medicine to that patient – so if you’re not going to your regular pharmacy, keeping the empty box of the previous supply will help the pharmacist help you.

“Premier Rockliff has been a great supporter of pharmacists practicing to our top of scope, and I welcome the opportunity to continue working with him and his team to make healthcare more accessible for all Tasmanians.”

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