Pharmacy groups welcome Queensland government moves that increase the options available to pharmacists to support patients during the pandemic
Both the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and PSA have welcomed a series of measures announced on the Easter long weekend by the Queensland government which give the state’s pharmacists a number of new options to provide medicines to those impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
Some of the measures announced have not yet been seen in other states and territories.
Changes to the Drug Therapy Protocol includes adjustments to the Communicable Diseases and Pharmacist Vaccination Programs. These provide greater scope for pharmacists to administer vaccinations and prescribe certain medicines to patients, if a prescriber is unavailable.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is also developing a protocol enabling pharmacists to supply alternate medicines to a patient if supplies of a usual medicine are unavailable due to drug shortages caused by the pandemic.
Patients will also be able to receive a maximum PBS quantity or pack size without a prescription, where the pharmacist is satisfied there is immediate need, usually a months’ supply for most medicines.
PSA Queensland President Chris Campbell congratulated the state government for making these “necessary changes that will assist pharmacists in providing necessary care to their patients and the community”.
“PSA fully supports and thanks the Queensland Government for this common-sense approach that will provide certainty to patients who cannot access their medicines due to the impact of COVID-19 or might be worried about a certain medicine being out of stock, “he said.
“Queensland is the first state or territory to enable pharmacists to implement the TGA therapeutic substitution protocols when they are released.”
“Dispensing therapeutic substitutions to patients is well within the current skillset of every pharmacist in Queensland and it is very important we continue to work with the Government and TGA to ensure there is as little bureaucratic red tape as possible and patient care and safety are paramount.
Queensland Guild President, Trent Twomey, said the changes are instrumental in protecting vulnerable community members during a time when they are most at risk.
“Sharing the load between trained primary healthcare professionals will be essential during the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
“It’s going to be a marathon and we need to work together to support Queenslanders. These Drug Therapy Protocol changes help to increase healthcare access for the community…”
The Queensland Government also announced that pharmacists will be able to administer the meningococcal vaccine to children aged 10 and older (previously 16 and older) as well as allowing Queensland pharmacists to be the first pharmacists in Australia to provide the Pneumococcal vaccination.
Mr Campbell said as part of these announcements by the Health Minister Steven Miles, community pharmacists will also be able to administer the COVID 19 vaccination when it is available, another Australian first.