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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Extension to dispensing arrangements to access medicines without a prescription during COVID-19

Health Industry Hub | July 6, 2020 |

Pharma News: The Federal Government has extended the temporary Continued Dispensing Emergency Measures until at least 30 September 2020, allowing Australians to continue to access essential medicines at PBS prices if their prescription has run out.

These arrangements will apply to most PBS/RPBS medicines supplied through community pharmacies which includes medicines used for asthma, lung disease, diabetes, heart disease and mental illness. This means that Australians who are having difficulty accessing their medical practitioner for a new prescription can obtain a one-off standard quantity of eligible PBS/RPBS medicines subsidised under the PBS without a prescription. The patient must previously have been prescribed this medicine and the pharmacist must be satisfied that it is urgently needed and it is not practicable to obtain a new prescription.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman welcomed the announcement and once again urged the Government to make continued dispensing arrangements permanent.

“This is a commonsense decision by the Federal Government with COVID-19 still posing a considerable risk in many parts of Australia,” he said.

“While the extension of the continued dispensing emergency arrangements is pleasing, PSA will continue to call for emergency supply provisions of this nature to be made standard practice.

“It is important that patients requiring chronic therapy are supported in emergency situations and can continue to receive their medication.

“All Australians for that matter need to be confident they can access vital medicines when faced with an emergency or disaster.”

A/Prof Freeman said PSA has been working with the Government to ensure all Australians can access essential medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will continue to work with Federal, State and Territory Governments during and after the COVID-19 pandemic to implement nationally consistent emergency supply provisions,”

“As front line health professionals, it is important that pharmacists have the necessary tools to ensure they can meet the health care needs of their patients and the community in a timely manner.”


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