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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Pharmacist prescribing on the way

Health Industry Hub | October 21, 2019 |

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has welcomed the Pharmacy Board of Australia’s position statement on pharmacist prescribing which outlines the way ahead for pharmacists to prescribe as part of a collaborative health care team.

PSA National President A/Prof Chris Freeman said following the extensive work conducted by the Pharmacy Board including competency mapping and broad stakeholder engagement, the position statement now lays the platform for pharmacist prescribing, especially collaborative prescribing to be implemented to support the safe and appropriate prescribing of medicines by pharmacists to improve Australians’ access to healthcare.

“PSA is pleased that the Pharmacy Board has concluded that under the National Law there are no regulatory barriers in place for pharmacists to be able to prescribe collaboratively under two of the three models outlined in the Health Professionals Prescribing Pathway (HPPP).

‘Prescribing via a structured prescribing arrangement’ and ‘prescribing under supervision’ can be progressed immediately, and implementation of these models through for example, expansion of continued dispensing for chronic disease medicines can address a significant proportion of the administrative burden that community pharmacists see day to day with patients running out of their medicines,”  he said.

A/Prof Freeman said collaborative prescribing agreements within general practice, aged care, hospitals, and community pharmacy can address concerns about patients not reaching treatment goals, improve the monitoring of adverse events, and in aged care could go a long way to reducing the medication related misadventure that occurs in this setting.

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“It is incumbent now upon state and territory jurisdictions with their medicines and poisons legislation to review their legislation to remove any unnecessary barriers to pharmacists ‘prescribing via a structured prescribing arrangement’ and ‘prescribing under supervision’.

“We are pleased that the Pharmacy Board has agreed with PSA’s position that there are no regulatory impediments to collaborative prescribing, and that autonomous prescribing would require an endorsement on pharmacists’ registration. 

“As stated in our Pharmacists in 2023 report, we are committed to enabling pharmacists to practise to their full scope by advocating for expanded roles and new opportunities in prescribing, consistent with their recognised competency framework.”

In its submission to the Pharmacy Board, PSA surveyed pharmacists, interns and students to inform its response. Ninety-six per cent of respondents agreed pharmacists are already well placed to prescribe under a structured prescribing arrangement or under supervision.

The majority of respondents said they would prescribe under the proposed models, with 57% saying they planned to prescribe under a structured prescribing arrangement as soon as it was implemented.

In its submission to the Pharmacy Board, PSA outlined the core principles that must underpin pharmacist prescribing, including:

  • Safety and wellbeing of the patient are fundamental priorities
  • Patients are supported to receive patient-centred care in a timely manner
  • Pharmacist prescribers have professional accountability and responsibility to patients as well as other members of the healthcare team
  • The pharmacist prescriber works as a member of a collaborative care team with shared responsibility and implements highest standards of communication with patients and other team members
  • Separation of prescribing and dispensing functions.

“PSA looks forward to working with the Pharmacy Board, state and territory jurisdictions and the wider profession to support pharmacist prescribers by establishing training requirements, implementing legislative and regulatory change, and developing the frameworks for collaborative prescribing” A/Prof Freeman said.

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