National monitoring system on horizon

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Health Minister Greg Hunt is expected to announce additional funding to get a national real-time recording system for drugs of dependence up and running by Christmas

Media reports have revealed the Health Minister has gone to bat for the Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs (ERRCD).

Minister Hunt told News Ltd he wants additional money for the electronic prescription system “within the next six months” to assist the nationwide rollout.

“I look forward to ensuring the electronic prescription system … is acted on in my first six months,” says Minister Hunt.

In the lead-up to next month’s Budget, health bodies including the Pharmacy Guild, and PSA are ramping up pressure on the government to support the full implementation of a national real-time monitoring system.

“PSA urgently calls on the Federal Government to implement a national real-time recording and reporting system for real-time monitoring of prescribing and dispensing of medicines to address the increase of harm from the inappropriate use of prescription and over the counter (OTC) medicines,” says PSA National President Joe Demarte.

“There is an urgent need for real-time recording to be expanded to include all drugs of dependence in Australia – the time to act is now.”

“In Australia, drug overdose fatalities regularly exceed motor vehicle fatalities, with legal prescription medicines – rather than illicit substances – comprising the overwhelming majority of these fatalities,” says Pharmacy Guild Executive Director David Quilty.

“Coroners around the country have called for the introduction of a real-time recording system for controlled drugs, and the Pharmacy Guild strongly supports such a system.

“While the States and Territories have made varying degrees of headway in introducing real-time electronic monitoring systems, decisive action is required to achieve a national system,” says Mr Quilty.

“We know that the Federal Government and the new Health Minister are keen to make this happen, and the Guild stands ready to assist in the implementation of such a national system.”

“Abuse of prescription drugs remains a major public health concern that needs to be addressed,” says Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King.

“I don’t want to see doctor-shopping and stockpiling because the federal government hasn’t got their act together and shown national leadership on getting a monitoring system in place.”

ScriptWise is also calling for the adoption of a mandatory national real-time prescription monitoring (RTPM) system, arguing it is “the only way to curb ‘doctor shopping’ and help curtail unnecessary deaths from prescription medication related overdose”.

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  1. Drugby

    Good news. I think the key words used by the Minister in the news clip was that RTM is a tool to counsel, deny, refer or report. It is not just a policing role for prescribers or dispensers.

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      very important definition – the last thing we need is to have patients who are clearly in need of assistance with the way they are using their medication, and then to be closed out of access to assistance.

  2. Slim Jim

    That’s a far horizon and does Santa really exist?

    I’ll believe this one when I see it being “rolled out” in every State/Territory and is mandatory to use (like ProjectSTOP).

    ERRCD is and has always been an option and as far as I’m aware, Tasmania is the only State/Territory that has implemented such a system.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

  3. William

    An admirable objective but unrealistic time frame. The functionality will be the test given the Census fiasco. Maybe better result if they use private project manager and programmers.
    Then there will be all the all the knockers complaining about this and that.

  4. Noel

    This is fantastic but it needs to be integrated with our dispensing software – I would not like to have to basically dispense the medication three times, National DD system , the actually dispense in our Dispensing system and then have to fill out the DD Register.

  5. Willy the chemist

    Given the short time frame and barring politicking from every invested groups, won’t it be more practical to expand and build on MedsASSIST?

  6. Karalyn Huxhagen

    I am a little confused by Greg Hunt’s announcement and the media follow up. some sentences speak of Controlled Drugs and others comment on ‘prescriptions’. While controlled drugs are certainly a problem the abuse, overuse and Dr Shopping for drugs such as Quetiapine is currently a large problem. The ‘off licence’ use and subsequent abuse of psychotropics, BZDs and antidepressants is causing much concern to many of us.

    So are we only discussing controlled drugs?

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