Make it permanent: COVID continued dispensing

One stakeholder has called for continued dispensing arrangements to be made permanent, not just for the next six months

On Thursday night, Health Minister Greg Hunt made a number of announcements pertaining to the pharmacy sector, including investment into research as well as extension of the Home Medicines Delivery Service and continued dispensing provisions.

“The existing medicines related COVID-19 measures, including the Home Medicines Delivery Service and Continued Dispensing emergency arrangements will also continue for a further six months in line with other COVID-19 health measures,” Mr Hunt said, repeating earlier comments made to the World Pharmacy Council. 

A PBS news update says that, “The Government has agreed to further extend the Continued Dispensing emergency arrangements until 31 March 2021 while COVID-19 continues to put pressure on our health resources”. 

“This will continue to provide an additional option to support continuity of therapy for consumers who are unable to access their medical practitioner to obtain a valid prescription.”

Chris Freeman, national president of the PSA, welcomed the extension but said that more needs to be done.

He called for the COVID-19 continued dispensing arrangements to become permanent.

“With COVID-19 still posing considerable risk in parts of Australia these arrangements are important to ensure Australians can continue to safely access essential medicines,” he said.

“We continue to urge the government to make emergency supply provisions of this nature standard practice and it is important that all Australians are supported and have access to vital medicines when faced with an emergency or disaster.”

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