Emergency supply of medications in Tasmania

31 March 2020


Tasmanians will now be allowed the supply of certain medicines by a pharmacist without a prescription following an announcement by the Tasmanian Health Minister, Sarah Courtney today.


The move has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Tasmanian President, Dr Ella Van Tienen and The Pharmacy Guild of Australia Tasmanian President, John Dowling that will ensure Tasmanians continue to receive the medical care they need.


These changes will help Tasmanians with ongoing medical needs, who may not have access to their valid prescription or are unable to see their usual doctor due to movement restrictions.


To qualify for emergency supply patients must previously have been prescribed the medicine and the pharmacist must be satisfied it is urgently needed.


“The changes announced today bring Tasmania into line with other jurisdictions that have made similar changes in response to COVID-19, and the recent bushfires, it’s a sensible approach which will reassure patients that they will be able to access medicines, further, the emergency supply will be covered under the PBS, meaning patients won’t pay more than the normal co-payments” said Mr Dowling.


“Patients running short of prescription medications will now be able to obtain additional supply under special arrangements, this change allows pharmacists to dispense prescription medications, subject to meeting certain conditions, the changes are in effect immediately until 30 June 2020,” said Dr Van Tienen.


The medicine must have been previously prescribed and be for the continuation of current essential treatment where it is impractical to obtain a prescription. In light of the developing COVID-19 pandemic, this change will enable pharmacists to best service their patients.


“Our patients are looking to us to provide them with medicines, on-going care, critical information and support,” said Mr Dowling.


We also welcomed the announcement that the Federal Government is implementing changes recommended by the both organisations to allow community pharmacists to substitute dose strengths or forms of medicines without prior approval from the prescribing doctor, if a medicine is unavailable at the time of dispensing. These changes will allow patients to receive their medicines from their pharmacist immediately.


PSA and the PGA will continue to work closely with the Department of Health to support pharmacists and the Tasmanian community during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Resources can be found through the PSA COVID-19 web page: https://www.psa.org.au/coronavirus/ or the Pharmacy Guild of Australia COVID-19 webpage: https://www.guild.org.au/resources/business-operations/COVID-19-Information


PSA contact: Paquita Sutherland, PSA TAS State Manager 0408 308 339

PGA contact: John Dowling, PGA Branch President 0408 131 094


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