Could continued dispensing be expanded?


0016562 - two pharmacists standing in pharmacy or drugstore in front of shelves with pharmaceuticals

Queensland has come into line with continued dispensing regulations across the rest of the country, but there’s scope to expand the practice

In Forefront this week, the Guild highlighted the recent changes to Queensland legislation, which mean that community pharmacies across Australia can now ensure the continued supply of some medicines to patients under the Continued Dispensing of PBS Medicines in Defined Circumstances arrangements (continued dispensing).
 
And it believes continued dispensing could be extended to other medicines, it says.
 
These could include medicines used for chronic health conditions, such as for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma and mental health, “so that patients who meet the continued dispensing conditions can receive a full pack of their medicine as a PBS benefit, without the added stress of needing to see their GP within a few days to ensure ongoing treatment with that medicine”.

“The cost to the Federal Government is negligible, and expansion would address barriers to improved adherence.

“Expansion would be of great value in times of catastrophe such as floods, fires and cyclones to ensure patients have ongoing access to their medicines should they be lost during the event.

“Continued Dispensing allows the supply of a single full pack (maximum PBS quantity) of an eligible medicine, currently limited to statins and oral contraceptives, to a patient as a PBS benefit when there is an immediate need for that medicine but it is not practicable to obtain a prescription,” the Guild says.

“Continued Dispensing differs from State and Territory emergency supply arrangements. A follow-up prescription from the prescriber is not required.”

The Guild highlights that the conditions around Continued Dispensing include: it is not practicable to obtain a prescription, the medicine has been previously prescribed as a pharmaceutical benefit, therapy is stable and safe, and there has been prior clinical review by the prescriber that supports ongoing treatment.

“It is the pharmacist’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the National Health (Continued Dispensing) Determination 2012 and relevant State and Territory legislation before providing a PBS benefit supply through the Continued Dispensing arrangements,” it points out.

More information on Continued Dispensing is available on the DHS-Medicare website

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