12 monitored medicines a minute


The Guild’s Anthony Tassone has called on stakeholders to stop using loaded terms like “doctor shopping” in an update on Victoria’s real time monitoring system

“The term ‘doctor shopper’ is sometimes used both in the media and within the healthcare profession to describe a person visiting multiple providers to seek a drug of dependency,” says Mr Tassone, president of the Pharmacy Guild’s Victoria branch.

“It is time we stop using this derogatory term.

“These are patients needing extra assistance whether it is with; pain management, mental health, drug dependency or other issues. They need the right care, and pharmacists can play a critical role.”

SafeScript is already recording 12 prescription records of a monitored medicine every minute, according to Victorian Department of Health and Human Services data.

SafeScript has been up and running since 2 October 2018 in the Western Victoria Primary Health Network area, but in his message to members, Mr Tassone points out that it has actually been available to prescribers and pharmacists throughout the state since that date.

He cites Department data which show that to date, 79% of all pharmacists and 35% of all doctors in the Western Victoria PHN have registered for the program.

In this PHN, half of pharmacists and one in seven doctors are “active users” of the system, which means they have a regular login and activity there.

State-wide, 15% of doctors and pharmacists have registered. Growth in registrations is around 100 a week.

Mr Tassone says that since the launch, there have been 4,348 alerts to doctors and pharmacists in Western Victoria PHN about people at increased risk of harm from visiting multiple general practices and pharmacies.

Overall, 7432 patients who presented in Western Victoria PHN were considered to potentially be at increased clinical risk because of visiting multiple providers, taking high doses or a combination of monitored medicines that was considered high risk;

State-wide, SafeScript has recorded more than 5,000 patients who have obtained prescriptions for codeine containing products from multiple doctors.

Mr Tassone also highlights that a significant reason for the lower involvement of doctors in registering is due to a delay in the integration of some major general practice prescribing software.

The statewide rollout will take place in April 2019 and include a direct to consumer public awareness campaign.

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