Extend trust in pharmacists: Tassone

Newly extended Public Health Emergency Orders in Victoria should be ongoing, says one stakeholder

Victoria has extended its Public Health Emergency Orders regarding emergency supply by pharmacists, and dispensing from a digital image of a prescription.

The Orders, which had been set to expire on 27 March 2021, have been extended until 27 September 2021, in a move welcomed by the Pharmacy Guild.

The extended Orders are PHEO #2, emergency supply by pharmacists, and PHEO #4, dispensing from a digital image of a script.

In extending the Orders, Acting Secretary to the Department of Health Jacinda de Witts clarified issues around digital images, in that a repeat authorisation may be dispensed from the same pharmacy which received the digital image of the original prescription in accordance with this public health emergency order, including if this order is no longer in force.

S8s and S4 drugs of dependence, including all opioids, benzodiazepines and anabolic steroids, are excluded from PHEO #4.

“The Victorian Branch of the Pharmacy Guild welcomes the extension of the public health emergency orders by the Victorian Department of Health regarding emergency supply and dispensing from a digital image of a prescription,” said the state’s branch president, Anthony Tassone. 

“These emergency orders have played an important role in ensuring the continuity of care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic environment,” he said.

“With regards to emergency supply or continued dispensing of prescription medicines where it is impractical for the patient to obtain one from their doctor it really should be an ongoing arrangement for the benefit of patients. 

“If pharmacists can be entrusted to utilise their skills and expertise in this way during a pandemic, then surely we should allowing this to happen ongoing.

“The extension of the Victorian emergency orders follows the sensible decision by the Commonwealth government to extend COVID-19 arrangements from their end to ensure a PBS subsidy applies for eligible patients in these instances. 

“In a release by Prime Minister Morrison announcing these extensions – it was stated that approximately 289,000 patients had already benefited from receiving at least one medication from continued dispensing arrangements. 

“This is almost 300,000 individual patients who did not have to go without, and potentially more serious complications were avoided.

“Any other state and territory who has not yet made the necessary arrangements to align with the Commonwealth orders should do so as a matter of priority to reduce any risk of interruptions of care or uncertainty for patients,” Mr Tassone said.

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