Queensland Health has announced a commitment to introduce real-time prescription monitoring, in a move welcomed by the Guild’s state branch
Legislation introduced into Queensland Parliament establishes the ability for the state to implement such a system in accordance with the previous COAG agreement, “to manage the use of dependence-forming medicines”.
“The development and implementation of a real-time prescription monitoring system will aid clinical decision-making by allowing prescribers and dispensers access to real-time prescription and dispensing information before they prescribe or dispense certain substances,” it says.
“The substances which will be monitored by the system ( ‘monitored medicines ’) will be defined in the Medicines Regulation to include controlled drugs such as pharmaceutical opioids and other prescription-only medicines associated with abuse and drug-seeking such as sedatives, sleeping tablets and products that combine codeine with other medicines.
“The system will allow Queensland Health, as the regulator, the ability to better monitor compliance with legislation and work with prescribers to better manage their patients’ use of certain medicines.”
Before dispensing or giving a treatment dose of a monitored drug, pharmacists will have to check the database to see if the patient has previously been prescribed or supplied a monitored medicine.
“Failure to check the database before taking one of these proposed actions will be subject to a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units,” the legislation states.
“The introduction of a real-time prescription monitoring system will provide life-saving benefits to patients, assistance for doctors when prescribing dependence-forming medicines, minimise over-prescription and reduce doctor shopping.
“The Queensland database will leverage off the national solution being developed by the Commonwealth, the National Data Exchange (NDE). The NDE will capture the prescription dispensing event data from all states and territories.
“Under this arrangement, Queensland will have access to its own data, and the data of other States only upon agreement with the respective jurisdiction.”
The legislation also states that Queensland should make Project STOP mandatory for all pharmacies and pharmacists dispensing pseudoephedrine in Queensland.
Pharmacy Guild of Australia Queensland Branch President Trent Twomey said such a system would combat doctor shopping and reduce preventable deaths across the state.
“Providing immediate access to real-time information about patients’ prescription history of monitored medicines, will help health professionals make the best and safest decisions.
“Pharmacists are well placed to provide referral or appropriate treatment and support for patients with drug dependency concerns. However, a real time monitoring system is required in order to identify and protect these patients.
“We have seen the success of real time monitoring systems in Victoria, and know it has a positive impact on the community and helps to save lives.
“The Guild strongly supports and welcomes the inclusion of a real time monitoring system in Queensland to help prevent avoidable deaths,” he said.
“The introduction of real-time prescription monitoring is an important pillar of the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) practices by all health practitioners for the benefit of patients across Queensland.
“The Guild looks forward to this crucial initiative and the expeditious passing of this important legislation.
“We look forward to working with the Queensland and Commonwealth Departments of Health to ensure the successful implementation of this vital medications service,” he said.