As of today – 1 July 2016 – changes have been made to the prescribing and dispensing of topical corticosteroids listed under the PBS scheme, which will make it easier and more efficient for doctors to prescribe appropriate quantities of TCS than previously.
The new streamlined authority means that GPs will be able to write prescriptions more easily for quantities of TCS that patients actually need, particularly when they are given up-to-date advice to use a reasonable quantity of the product, rather than the out of date “use sparingly”.
The new streamlined authority is aligned with current TCS treatment guidelines and supports the quality use of medicines, says Merck, which welcomed the news.
For example, for a patient with extensive corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses covering >80% of body surface area, the GP would be able to write up to 10 tubes of DIPROSONE (betamethasone diproprionate cream/ointment 0.05% 15g) at a time with up to five repeats without the need to phone for authority approval.
Under the current PBS listing, GPs can only write a prescription for one tube of DIPROSONE cream/ointment 15g plus one repeat without phoning for an authority.
Nick Logan, 2009 Pharmacist of the Year and owner of Nick Logan Pharmacist Advice in Sydney’s north, says he welcomes the PBS changes to the prescribing and dispensing of TCS and says it is a great result for both patients and healthcare professionals.
“Patients will now be able to get a genuine month’s supply of TCS creams or ointments based on actual need, and healthcare professionals will be better supported in achieving the best clinical outcomes for their patients,” he says.
“The PBS should be applauded for making such a sensible decision.”
Other medicines that are affected by the changes are mometasone furoate 0.1%; methylprednisolone aceponate 0.1% and betamethasone valerate 0.05%.
Click here for the results of AJP’s poll looking at whether pharmacists advise to use TCS “sparingly,” more liberally or using fingertip units.