Emergency measure passed for ACT

ACT follows suit in granting pharmacists special authority to supply emergency medicine

ACT pharmacists can now supply a standard pack of most prescription-only medicines without a script to patients affected by the recent bushfires.

Previously, emergency supply had been restricted to three days’ worth of medicine.

This temporary measure, in place until 31 March 2020, can be used if the pharmacist is satisfied that:

  1. the person is undergoing treatment essential to the person’s well-being
  2. the medicine has previously been prescribed for the treatment
  3. the person is in immediate need of the medicine for continuation of the treatment
  4. it is not practicable for the person to obtain a prescription for the medicine from an authorised practitioner.

The same emergency measure was announced by the NSW and Victorian governments on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

ACT Branch President of the Pharmacy Guild, Simon Blacker, thanked the ACT Government for helping to ensure continuity of care and access to important medicines during the bushfire emergency.

“This is a sensible measure during this very distressing time for patients impacted by the bushfire disaster to help ensure they continue to have access to medicines, and recognises the expertise of pharmacists in determining where an emergency supply is appropriate,” Mr Blacker said.

“It is very commendable that the governments of the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria have now taken this step to assist patients, many of whom are still in a state of distress and upheaval following these terrible bushfires.

“This is a great step towards permanently expanding and streamlining the capacity of pharmacists all over Australia to assist patients with their prescription medicines during and after natural disasters,” Mr Blacker said.

In welcoming the announcement, PSA ACT Branch Vice President Professor Mark Naunton said: “This is a sensible decision made by ACT Health to ensure patients maintain their access to medicines consistent with other affected states.

“The current bushfire crisis is starting to create an increased demand on Canberra’s pharmacists from patients who have been displaced from NSW and Victoria and are coming into the ACT.

“Our community pharmacists are working incredibly hard to ensure this increased demand is managed to ensure patients are not adversely affected by this crisis, and this change helps pharmacists care for these people.”

Schedule 8 drugs such as opioid pain medicines, anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines and a small number of specialised medicines (‘Appendix D medicines’) cannot be supplied under this provision.

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