PBS issues new claiming advice on opioid combinations as listing changes take effect
From yesterday (1 June 2020) Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings have changed for opioid products.
The PBS has advised pharmacists of specific amendments to the PBS items for paracetamol 500 mg + codeine 30mg combination tablets that it says will “affect the way outstanding repeats for this product can now be claimed from 1 June”.
“In response to concerns regarding the high number of deaths and hospitalisations due to prescription opioids, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended changes to PBS opioid listings to assist with the appropriate use of opioid medicines for the treatment of pain,” the PBS release said.
“The changes include amendments to existing restriction requirements and arrangements for increased quantities and repeats”.
- Paracetamol 500mg + codeine 30mg tablets will continue to be available under PBS item code (1215Y) for the treatment of pain, with new arrangements in addition to new item codes.
- The previous PBS item code (8785J) for paracetamol 500mg + codeine 30mg tablet products will no longer exist on the PBS or within pharmacy dispensing software.
For prescriptions written for paracetamol 500mg + codeine 30mg tablets prior to 1 June and claimed on or after 1 June, pharmacists will need to claim under item code 1215Y.
“This will assist in allowing a smooth transition to the new listing arrangements for opioids,” the PBS says.
It advises that pharmacists will need to acknowledge the mismatch warning code presented (W 162/W 163) and keep sufficient information relating to the claimed prescription.
“Pharmacists are also encouraged to advise patients of the changes that have been made to relevant opioid PBS listings and encourage them to seek further information from their prescriber at their next visit”.
In a recent release covering the changes, the TGA said: “To be eligible for treatment with opioids, patients will need to be unresponsive or intolerant, or have achieved inadequate relief of their acute pain, to maximum tolerated doses of non-opioid treatments.
Patients who require long-term treatment of chronic pain with opioids will still be able to access larger pack sizes and prescribers will be able to prescribe repeats where they meet the new restrictions requirements”.
“For chronic pain, increased quantities and/or repeats may be authorised by Services Australia where the patient meets the restriction requirements,” the agency said.
“Increased quantities to extend treatment up to one month may be requested via telephone/electronic authority request, and up to three months’ supply (up to one-month quantity and up to two repeats) may be requested via an electronic/written authority request”.