Hunt intervenes to hold off MedsASSIST shutdown

Greg Hunt has intervened in support of MedsASSIST, prompting the Guild to hold off its shutdown

MedsASSIST – the real time recording system developed by the Guild to help reduce the misuse of combination analgesic codeine containing medicines – was scheduled to be discontinued nationally from this evening, Thursday 30 March 2017.

Following yesterday’s announcement of the switch-off, Minister Hunt has expressed his strong support for continuing MedsASSIST, particularly in the period between now and 1 February 2018, when the codeine containing medicines will be up-scheduled to prescription-only.

Minister Hunt has made clear to the Guild’s leadership that he is committed to working in partnership with the Guild to keep MedsASSIST open until 1 February 2018.

In particular, Mr Hunt has committed to seeking urgent advice on the necessary steps to strengthen the regulatory underpinnings of the MedsASSIST system via discussions with the Department of Health, the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

In light of the Minister’s commitment and in good faith, the Guild will hold off the shutdown until this advice is received at which time it says it will assess with the Minister whether the necessary actions are able to be taken to allow this system to continue operating effectively until 1 February 2018.

In the meantime, the Guild says it encourages all pharmacies to continue using MedsASSIST as an important clinical tool to support patient safety. 

As a clinical decision support tool, MedsASSIST has a focus on patient care and patient pain management support pathways designed to help pharmacists identify patients who are at risk of codeine dependence, the Guild said in a statement today.

It facilitates access to suitable referral pathways to support patients to better manage their pain and enhance health outcomes.

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