Targin, hormonal drugs identified in alert

alert warning

PDL has already received a number of reports and one error relating to active ingredient prescribing changes

Mandatory changes came into effect from 1 February requiring all prescribers to include the active ingredient names on all PBS and RPBS prescriptions.

PDL has already received a small number of reports and one error relating to this change, it said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Pharmacists are reminded to read prescriptions carefully as prescribing software is likely to present the order of active ingredients alphabetically, which might be different to previous computer-generated or electronic prescriptions.

One noted example is Targin tablets which have been routinely prescribed as oxycodone + naloxone.

Prescribing software programs are now likely to generate Targin as naloxone + oxycodone which could easily lead to confusion or error, said PDL.

There is a report that the strengths of the ingredients may still be presented in the previous format of oxycodone/naloxone.

Other issues reported include insulin prescribed without a brand or delivery device specified, and hormone combinations including oral contraceptives and HRT prescribed without brand or form specified.

“Please make your dispensary team aware of this recent change and remind them to carefully interpret prescriptions when dispensing and checking,” said PDL.

“Members are encouraged to discuss this recent change with patients so that they understand that their prescriptions might look different.

“They are also reminded that patients have a right to choose their preferred brand when presenting their prescriptions, and please ensure generic substitution does not occur if the prescriber has specifically stated this on the prescription,” said PDL.

Pharmacists have been granted a grace period to support them during the transition, which ends on 31 July 2021.

Within this period, if a pharmacy receives a prescription that does not meet active ingredient prescribing requirements, the pharmacist should contact the prescriber and request that the prescription be re-issued.

If the prescriber is unable to issue a compliant prescription for any reason, the pharmacy may supply and claim for the medicine as normal under the PBS or RPBS without penalty.

From 1 August 2021, new prescriptions that do not meet active ingredient prescribing requirements cannot be dispensed as PBS prescriptions and will need to be reissued in alignment with active ingredient prescribing requirements or dispensed as private prescriptions.

However, non-compliant prescriptions generated before 31st July 2021 but presented after the grace period will still be able to be supplied and claimed until their expiration.

According to NPS MedicineWise, exceptions to the new mandatory legislation include:

  • Handwritten prescriptions
  • Paper-based medication charts in residential aged care
  • Medicines containing 4 or more active ingredients
  • Medicinal and non-medicinal items listed on the List of Excluded Medicinal Items
  • Prescriptions generated from prescribing software that utilises a free text function.

Find out more about active ingredient prescribing here: https://www.pbs.gov.au/info/general/active-ingredient-prescribing

For immediate advice and incident support, call PDL on 1300 854 838 to speak with a Professional Officer (24/7, Australia-wide)

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  1. Matthew

    Anyone could have seen this coming. PDL will see a large influx of matters relating to dispensing errors due to this ridiculous active ingredient prescribing rule change. It’s very confusing for both the patient and pharmacist. It should be mandatory to have a brand name in brackets after the active ingredient.

  2. Breanna Friend

    While I appreciate the need for active ingredient prescribing, clearly this has been implemented by people who haven’t worked in community pharmacy for a long time, if ever. Pharmacists already have a large workload; why is it up to us to take on even more work when prescribers haven’t adhered to these new changes? And why should we be copping the abuse and dissatisfaction from patients who don’t see anything wrong with these new scripts, and just want their medicines? Better execution is needed.

    • Paul Sapardanis

      Agree. It is weird how we are punished ( financially and emotionally) when someone else does something wrong.

      • Breanna Friend

        As always, we’re the proverbial punching bags.

        • Ex-Pharmacist

          Ask your boss for a pay-rise to compensate for the extra work & stress. See how that goes down…

  3. Jim Tsaoucis

    my personal GP hates it with a passion!!!

  4. Michael Ortiz

    Why have the PBS implemented this change?

    I don’t see any benefit to the patients, or Pharmacists or prescribers. That only leaves the PBS!!

    So why change rules in the supply of PBS medications? The most obvious reason is to eliminate brand premiums for originator drugs and put more price pressure on generic products.

    The PBS know that pharmacists will make it work for patients -so who cares if a few patients get confused because the colour or shape of their medication changes or that patients double up or miss the occasional dose.

    What about prescribers getting confused about the molecule name and write wrong drug. All that is important is to control the prices! don’t worry about he confusion it will cause over the next six months while things transition.

    Lets ignore that Government want to roll out COVID vaccination at the same time.

    Well done guys, just like when NSW Transport would schedule trackwork to the Olympic stadium on the Grand final weekend.

  5. Margaret Topp

    Confusion to patients was never taken into account. There should have been widespread TV campaigns before implementation,and at the very least a leaflet we could hand out to patients.Forgive me if I missed such initiatives, I was obviously busy with something else.

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