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Greg Hunt speaks at PSA17. Image: PSA
Greg Hunt speaks at PSA17. Image: PSA

Health Minister to pressure states to expedite real-time monitoring plans

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says he will “shortly be writing to all of the states” to encourage them to expedite their efforts to implement real-time monitoring programs for prescription medications.

Speaking in Parliament last week, Mr Hunt said he noted “that we have announced $16 million for the delivery of the first national real-time monitoring service in relation to prescriptions”. 

“I hope the states will do the right thing and join us expeditiously”.

Mr Hunt acknowledged previous comments by ALP MP Dr Mike Freedlander, who said “can I encourage the minister also to do whatever he can to bring forward and broaden the government’s plans to have in place a national real-time register for monitoring dangerous drugs and also to expedite the extension of that real-time monitoring to all high-cost prescription drugs available under the PBS”.

“This is an initiative that will save lives and which can more than pay for itself by reducing the overuse of prescription drugs,” Dr Freedlander said.

“I would also encourage a review of doctors’ prescribing habits in a more formal way so that we can further reduce costs,” he added.

Mr Hunt said Dr Freedlander was “right to emphasise this, and we were right to make the funds available.”

The Minister had announced the real-time monitoring funding at a media conference at the PSA17 Conference in July last year, saying at the time, “we want to have this rolled out by the end of 2018 but we start work immediately.”

While some states, notably Victoria, had started rolling out real-time monitoring initiatives, there has been growing criticism over a seeming lack of follow-up at a federal level.

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