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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Active ingredient prescribing of medicines imminent, according to PSA

Health Industry Hub | January 22, 2021 |

Pharma News: From 1 February 2021 the majority of prescriptions for supply under the PBS and the RPBS must describe the medicine by active ingredient name to be eligible for subsidy.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said while current pharmacy workflows or processes largely won’t change, pharmacists should continue talking with consumers about their medicines active ingredient names where possible.

“Pharmacists have an important role to play when it comes to explaining to patients why their prescriptions may look different,” he said.

“When these changes come into effect it is critical that pharmacy staff are prepared to have the necessary conversations with patients and continue to provide information about the brand options available to them.

 “It may take some time for patients to get use to describing their medicines by the active ingredient names however in the longer term it will improve medication safety by reducing potential confusion of multiple brands of the same active ingredient.”

Active ingredient prescribing will apply to PBS and RPBS prescriptions, except:

·         Handwritten prescriptions;

·         Paper based medication charts in the residential aged care sector;

·         Medicinal items with four or more active ingredients; and

·         Other items excluded for safety or practicality reasons.

Doctors can still include a brand name on a prescription if or if required for PBS authority and disallow brand substitution if a specific brand of medicine is required.

There will be a six month grace period where if a pharmacist receives a prescription that does not contain active ingredient names they will be required to contact the prescriber and ask them to reissue the prescription in accordance with the requirements.

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If the prescriber is unable to issue a compliant prescription for any reason, then the pharmacy may supply and claim for the medicine as normal under the PBS without penalty. After the grace period, non-compliant prescriptions generated before 31st July 2021 will still be able to be supplied and claimed until their expiration.


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