Pharmacist prescribing forum: what’s next?

Stakeholders have shown a strong desire to progress work to enable pharmacists to prescribe S4 and S8 medicines

The Pharmacy Board of Australia has published a report about the forum it held earlier this year to consider the need and opportunities for expanding pharmacist involvement in prescribing.

The forum saw representatives of hospital and community pharmacy, government health department representatives, professional association delegates, state and territory pharmacy authorities, consumer representatives, education providers, the Australian Pharmacy Council, New Zealand government advisers, pharmacists with firsthand experience as prescribers overseas, Pharmacy Board members and AHPRA staff congregate to discuss the future of pharmacist prescribing.

The report outlines the next steps to develop proposals for pharmacist prescribing that can be implemented and sustained to effectively meet the current and future health needs of the Australian community.

The Board reports that there was strong support among participants for enhancing the role of pharmacists in the quality use of medicines by expanding their ability to prescribe.

There was agreement that the prescribing and dispensing functions should be separated, and strong support for team-based collaborative care.

“The majority of participants felt that pharmacists were already well placed to undertake prescribing via a structured prescribing arrangement and prescribing under supervision and that these activities could be adequately enabled and governed through relevant jurisdictional policy and/or legislation without the need for additional regulation by the Pharmacy Board of Australia,” the report notes.

There was also strong support for pharmacists to have the knowledge and skills to prescribe via a structured prescribing arrangement and under supervision at initial registration.

The stakeholders also strongly agreed on the need for additional education and training for autonomous prescribing, particularly regarding competencies around diagnosis and assessment.

There was a “strong desire” among the group to progress work to enable pharmacists prescribing S4 and S8 medicines. The forum provided some momentum for this to occur, the Board says.

All the participants agreed that there was a strong need for uniform arrangements for pharmacists prescribing S4 and S8 medicines across state and territory medicines and poisons legislations.

“Participants highlighted many ways in which pharmacists could enhance timely access to medicines, reduce medicines related misadventures and improve the efficacy and cost effectiveness of the use of medicines,” the Board reports.

The Board is now developing a discussion paper that will include the outcomes of the forum and a range of consultation questions to further explore including:

  • models of prescribing that can be pursued by the profession including the supporting evidence;
  • identification of gaps in evidence that may need to be addressed by the profession; and
  • issues that need to be considered and addressed to assess the regulatory need for an endorsement in relation to scheduled medicines.

It encourages interested stakeholders to continue discussions and to work together to further progress potential pharmacist prescribing models.

The proposed discussion paper will also highlight where further work is required and is intended to stimulate discussion and collaboration among stakeholders.

Read the full report here.

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