Vic Extends Emergency Dispensing

State and Territory Governments are being urged to follow Victoria’s lead in extending emergency dispensing and digital image prescribing orders to ensure patients retain access to critical medications.

Under the measures gazetted by the Victorian Department of Health this week, pharmacists in the state will be able to provide Schedule 4 medications to patients who have been unable to obtain a prescription from their GP in line with Commonwealth approved continued dispensing orders, until 27 Sep.

They will also be authorised to dispense medications where a prescriber has sent through a digital image of a prescription, with the order also in place until the same date.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia Victorian Branch President, Anthony Tassone, welcomed the extension of the two emergency orders, but called for the measures to be implemented on a permanent basis.

“These emergency orders have played an important role in ensuring the continuity of care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic environment,” he said.

“With regards to emergency supply or continued dispensing of prescription medicines where it is impractical for the patient to obtain one from their doctor, it really should be an ongoing arrangement for the benefit of patients.

“If pharmacists can be entrusted to utilise their skills and expertise in this way during a pandemic, then surely we should be allowing this to happen ongoing.

“The extension of the Victorian emergency orders follows the sensible decision by the Commonwealth Government to extend COVID-19 arrangements from their end to ensure a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidy applies for eligible patients in these instances.

“In a release by Prime Minister Morrison announcing these extensions – it was stated that approximately 289,000 patients had already benefited from receiving at least one medication from continued dispensing arrangements.

“This is almost 300,000 individual patients who did not have to go without, and potentially more serious complications were avoided.

“Any other state and territory who has not yet made the necessary arrangements to align with the Commonwealth orders should do so as a matter of priority to reduce any risk of interruptions of care or uncertainty for patients”., Friday 26 March 2021