Call for legislation to expand pharmacy’s continued dispensing role
More flexible legislation is needed to allow pharmacists continued supply rights for regular patients unable to obtain a script on practical grounds, researchers say.
A survey of 385 pharmacists, conducted by PSA national vice-president Jeff Hughes and other academics, found pharmacists were more likely to provide medication to regular customers presenting without a valid prescription.
However supply was also influenced by the type of prescription and the medication requested.
In cases where the medication had the potential for abide supply was influenced by the age and gender of the pharmacist, and the pharmacy location.
“In general, and depending on the prescription and customer type, older participants were more likely… To supply anti-anxiety, non-opioids and opioids. Younger participants were more likely to provide antidepressants, psoriasis medications, statins and non-statins,” they said.
Pharmacists in urban areas were more likely to supply anti-anxiety, arthritis and GERD medications than rural pharmacists, while male pharmacists were more likely to supply opioids than their female colleagues
The authors, from Curtin University, WA, said the findings heightened the importance of patients actually having a regular pharmacy to minimise interruptions, as they were more likely to receive emergency supply or owing prescription medications, regardless of medication type.
Given that Australian pharmacists faced these requests on a weekly, often daily basis due primarily to patients not obtaining timely Medical appointments, the authors advocate legislative changes to allow supply in emergency situations.
“Models of allowing pharmacists to supply without a valid prescription, when it is safe to do so, should be explored and implemented especially given that being a regular customer of a pharmacy does not guarantee supply,” they argued.
“In some Canadian provinces pharmacists may legally adjust the medication dose or change the dosage form of prescribed medications to ensure treatment continuation when access to the original prescriber is not practical,” they said.
Continued dispensing is only currently allowed for statins and oral contraceptive use.
The study was published in PLOS One