Emergency supplies of medicines available from pharmacies

Wednesday 2nd March 2022


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is providing urgent advice to all people affected by flooding and natural disasters.


Under continued dispensing arrangements, most essential medicines that people are currently prescribed can be accessed from any local pharmacy across the country without a prescription during an emergency.


PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, reminded the public that they can still access medicines during this time of crisis.


“My thoughts and condolences go out to all Australians who have lost loved ones or been impacted by this tragic event, and I would like to remind you that you essential medicines can be accessed from any local pharmacy.


“There are some rules and limitations to these provisions, but pharmacists are familiar with these and can talk you through your options.


“These options weren’t available last time floods came through, and were only introduced in late 2019.


“One of the greatest public policy initiatives to come from the 2019/2020 bushfires and the pandemic, has been the ability for Australians to access lifesaving medicines from their pharmacist without a prescription under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme during an emergency.


“With the Continued Dispensing rules currently set to expire on 30 June 2022, these floods are a timely reminder we need to make them permanent.


A/Prof Freeman thanked pharmacists for their work supporting flood-affected Australians:


“Pharmacists have already been working with emergency services to support people isolated and in need and have been doing an incredible job of ensuring continuity of health care and medicine supply to these affected east coast regions. I thank you all for your efforts and implore you to stay safe,” he said.


PSA Queensland Branch President, Shane MacDonald, offered advice to Queensland patients.


“My thoughts go out to all Queenslanders and their families who have lost their lives, property, or been displaced by these floods.


“Queensland is no stranger to natural disasters and I’m really proud of the stories I’m hearing of pharmacists going above and beyond for their communities.


“It is important that people know, that during emergency situations, any local pharmacist can guide you on the best way to access your medicines. In many cases, this can be a matter of life and death.


“While the flood waters will recede in coming days, the effects of the floods will be with us for some time, and your pharmacist can help make sure you have the medicines you need.” Mr MacDonald said.


PSA NSW Branch President, Chelsea Felkai, urged NSW residents to stay safe.


“There are areas of Northern NSW that are tragically being affected by these floods and residents’ lives are being turned upside down.


“Pharmacists all across the state are coming together to support those most in need, and we thank you for this.


“We want all Australians to know, that in order to access essential medicines, they can go to any pharmacist during an emergency, and we are here to do whatever we can to help.


“The special authority arrangements allow patients to continue their vital medicines in the event that they cannot access a GP. Continuity of these medicines during this time is absolutely crucial.


“Whilst many areas are not through the worst of it, the health and wellbeing of all residents will be a priority as we recover from this. Please stay safe,” Ms Felkai said.


For emergency assistance in Queensland and NSW please contact the State Emergency Service on 132 500. In a life-threatening emergency please call 000 (triple zero).



Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463