Last week, special authority for emergency supply without a prescription in bushfire-affected areas has been issued for pharmacists in NSW, VIC and ACT.
In NSW, temporary special authority has been issued for supply of prescription medicines from community pharmacies in emergencies in areas affected by the bushfires.
Particularly, special authority for emergency supply without a prescription in bushfire-affected areas is now available for pharmacists in these areas until 31 March 2020.
Under the authority, a patient can receive a supply of Schedule 4 medication without a prescription, provided that the pharmacist approves that there is immediate need.
It is required that the medicine must have been previously prescribed, be for continuation of current essential treatment and it is impracticable to obtain a prescription.
See here for further requirements.
The quantity to be supplied is no more than:
- For substances that are on the PBS, the standard Pharmaceutical Benefits maximum quantity, or
- For substances that are not on the PBS, the quantity that is contained in the smallest standard pack in which substance is generally available.
A pharmacist may also dispense S4D and S8 medicine using telephone or email orders in an emergency.
Furthermore, the TGA has granted permission for pharmacies to advertise that people with asthma or COPD can obtain salbutamol puffers or dry powder inhalers from a particular pharmacy with or without prescription.
This special advertising permissions lasts until 30 April 2020 and also extends to salbutamol advertising activities facilitated by evacuation centres and affected areas.
PSA NSW Branch President Peter Carroll spoke in the news that the current bushfires across NSW have peaked the demand on pharmacists in multiple settings, mostly in community pharmacy.
Therefore, this announcement means that people separated from their prescription medicines or prescriptions will get access to their regular medicines needed for managing their chronic health conditions.
This special authority is crucial to ensure NSW residents affected by bushfires having uninterrupted access to medicines vital for their health.
Victorian pharmacists have also gained special authority for emergency supply.
The Victorian government’s decision has been announced late last week, which allows the state’s pharmacists to dispense prescription-only medicines to people impacted by bushfires until 1 April 2020.
Guild National President, George Tambassis, also welcomed the announcement, saying that this is a great step towards permanently expanding and streamlining the capacity of pharmacists all over Australia to assist patients with their prescription medicines.
However, Mr Tassone added that measures were needed to ensure that such emergency provisions of prescription-only medicines should be followed with stricter care.
ACT also follows NSW and VIC in granting pharmacists special authority to supply emergency medicine.
ACT pharmacists can now supply a standard pack of most prescription-only medicines without a script to patients affected by the recent bushfires.
Previously, emergency supply had been restricted to three days’ worth of medicine. This temporary measure, in place until 31 March 2020, comes with special requirements.
ACT Branch President of the Pharmacy Guild, Simon Blacker, thanked the ACT Government for helping to ensure continuity of care and access to important medicines during the bushfire emergency.
In welcoming the announcement, PSA ACT Branch Vice President Professor Mark Naunton said that the current bushfire crisis is starting to create an increased demand on Canberra’s pharmacists from patients who have been displaced from NSW and Victoria and are coming into the ACT.
Therefore, this special authority has allowed community pharmacists provide better care for people in need of health assistance.
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