Continued dispensing: what’s needed?

pills spill out of beaker

Patients say continued dispensing (CD) should be expanded and greater utilised for conditions such as asthma, arthritis, diabetes and chronic skin disorders.

Under the current arrangements, CD is only available for statins and oral contraceptives (OC) for patients who have been on them for six months, and who cannot get an appointment to see a GP.

Study participants say they strongly support expanding the current list of eligible medications and increasing utilisation, say researchers from Curtin University.

The study involved more than 300 randomly selected users of statins and/or the OC Australia-wide.

According to researchers, the current arrangements may only offer limited benefits to chronic disease sufferers, as they are often on multiple meds but cannot access them without a new script from their GP.

When asked to list their preferences about which medications should be included in an expanded scheme, asthma topped the list at almost 80%, followed by arthritis, chronic skin disorders, indigestion, diabetes, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic pain. Medications to treat depression were least favoured, with only 44% support.

Also, overseas pharmacist supplementary prescribing models operate well, researchers say, as doctors retain their diagnostic role; in conjunction with pharmacist interventions for the treatment of chronic diseases.

They say an expanded version of the scheme will assist in achieving the program’s goals. Namely, it offers a more convenient way for patients to obtain their medications, prevent treatment interruptions, utilise pharmacists’ skills; and reduce GP overload.

“These findings suggest that an ongoing review of CD is essential and changes which do not compromise patient safety, or allow the abuse of CD would be welcomed by patients.”

The study was published in the Peer Journal



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