Dispensing program wins an extension

Pharmacy groups welcome three month extension for continued dispensing arrangements

Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced a three month extension to the temporary Continued Dispensing (Emergency Measures).

This will take these measures through to 30 September 2020.

Extending these arrangements provides another option for consumers to continue to access their PBS subsidised medicines if they are having difficulty accessing a prescriber to obtain a valid prescription, the Minister said.

“These temporary arrangements, put in place in January 2020, were in response to the bushfire
crisis and then extended to assist physical distancing and reduce demand on doctors as the
COVID-19 pandemic unfolded,” Mr Hunt said.

“Between 1 April and 31 May 2020, more than 75,000 medications were dispensed under this
measure. The most commonly dispensed medications were for the treatment of cardiovascular
disease, diabetes, reflux, and depressive or anxiety related disorders”.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) national president, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, welcomed the announcement and repeated his previous call for the Government to make these temporary continued dispensing arrangements permanent.

“This is a commonsense decision by the Federal Government with COVID-19 still posing a considerable risk in many parts of Australia,” he said.

“While the extension of the continued dispensing emergency arrangements is pleasing, PSA will continue to call for emergency supply provisions of this nature to be made standard practice.

“It is important that patients requiring chronic therapy are supported in emergency situations and can continue to receive their medication,” he said.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia also expressed their support for the announcement, with a spokesperson saying it “welcomes confirmation that 75,000 prescriptions were dispensed under this measure between 1 April and 31 May”.

“That’s a great saving to consumers and taxpayers – 75,000 Medicare rebates that did not have to be paid to renew a script, and 75,000 times the out of pocket expense for patients who might not have been able to access a bulk-billing doctor”.

Click here for more information, including FAQs, on continued dispensing

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