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Autonomous Pharmacist Prescribing

November 18, 2019 0 Comments

Under Autonomous Prescribing, pharmacists could prescribe within the scope of their practice without the supervision or approval of another health professional. And the Pharmacy Board recently released its  Statement.

Autonomous Pharmacist Prescribing

The Proposal

The Board’s Response


The Proposal

Earlier this year, the Pharmacy Board released a discussion paper – Pharmacist Prescribing – and suggested three structures under which pharmacists could prescribe:

  1. Autonomous prescribing
  2. Prescribing under supervision
  3. Structured prescribing arrangement

The Pharmacy Guild has responded to this discussion that autonomous pharmacist prescribing would be able to satisfy public needs.

The Guild believed that it would improve access to treatment options for simple conditions that can be managed by a pharmacist, including after hours and weekends when access to other health care professionals can be limited depending on a patient’s location. 

The Guild also suggested prescribing under a structured prescribing arrangement or under supervision creates a dependence on other health care professionals. Therefore, the method would not be flexible enough to meet the needs of all Australians from remote areas where there is severely limited access to a medical doctor or nurse practitioner.

Other examples of services a Pharmacist prescriber could provide the necessary care include after hours, palliative care, aged care or addiction medicine.

In these instances a pharmacist would be similar to a nurse practitioner, where pharmacists would provide care within their individual scope of practice, and in collaboration with other team members.

Pharmacy store medicine display


The Board’s Response

The Pharmacy Board has recently released its Position Statement on Pharmacist Prescribing and elaborated it should not seek to chase a model whereby pharmacists could prescribe medications without medical supervision.

Autonomous prescribing by pharmacists would require additional regulation, changes to legislation, and an application to the Ministerial Council following the development of a registration standard.

As for the restricted models, no barriers will apply for pharmacists. As highlighted in their statement, there are no obstacles to collaborative prescribing alongside medical professionals, and structured prescribing whereby pharmacists have limited authorisation under guidelines.

Medication in patient hand

The Pharmacy Board highlighted that significant issues remain with any model of pharmacist prescribing. These may include conflicts of interest and the importance of separating the prescribing and supply of medicines.

The Pharmacy Board’s Position Statement was published shortly after the AMA released its 10 Minimum Standards for Prescribing document. It was developed by the AMA Council of General Practice and approved by the AMA Federal Council and it seeks to ensure patient safety and high-quality health care.

The Board concluded there are no regulatory barriers in place for pharmacists to be able to prescribe in two of those models of care within a collaborative healthcare environment, both with a structured prescribing arrangement or under supervision.

For autonomous prescribing by pharmacists, the Board recommends additional regulation is required via an endorsement for scheduled medicines. The Board hopes stakeholders will further explore the potential role of pharmacists in prescribing that may contribute to the healthcare needs of the public.

Heart shape animated


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