Queenslanders to be better protected during COVID-19
11 April 2020
Queenslanders will be better protected by pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic with increased access to vaccines and essential medicines following a number of announcements made by the Queensland Government today, many of them not yet seen in other states and territories.
In a move that has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), pharmacists will be able to supply an alternative suitable medicine to a patient if supplies of a usual medicine are unavailable, once enacted under protocols currently under development by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for prescribed Schedule 4 restricted drugs.
Patients will also be able to receive a maximum PBS quantity or pack size without a prescription, where the pharmacist is satisfied there is immediate need, usually a months’ supply for most medicines.
PSA Queensland President Chris Campbell congratulated the Queensland Government for making these necessary changes that will assist pharmacists in providing necessary care to their patients and the community.
“PSA fully supports and thanks the Queensland Government for this common-sense approach that will provide certainty to patients who cannot access their medicines due to the impact of COVID-19 or might be worried about a certain medicine being out of stock, “he said.
“Queensland is the first state or territory to enable pharmacists to implement the TGA therapeutic substitution protocols when they are released, which is one of many measures the Government, through pharmacists are tackling the growing issue of medicines shortage around Australia.
“Dispensing therapeutic substitutions to patients is well within the current skillset of every pharmacist in Queensland and it is very important we continue to work with the Government and TGA to ensure there is as little bureaucratic red tape as possible and patient care and safety are paramount.
“As the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA has called for and worked with the Queensland Government to give pharmacists more scope to ensure patients continue to receive essential medicines and these changes are a good step forward.”
The Queensland Government also announced that pharmacists will be able to administer the meningococcal vaccine to children aged 10 and older (previously 16 and older) as well as allowing Queensland pharmacists to be the first pharmacists in Australia to provide the Pneumococcal vaccination, adding to the growing number of immunisations provided by pharmacists in Queensland.
Mr Campbell said as part of these announcements by the Health Minister Steven Miles, community pharmacists will also be able to administer the COVID 19 vaccination when it is available, another Australian first.
“This forward thinking plan will allow the most rapid uptake of COVID 19 immunisation possible, leveraging off the wide network of pharmacists in the state and will help to rapidly protect Queenslanders and will save lives,” he said.
“Pharmacists are on the front line of health care and are doing a tremendous job of supporting the community during the COVID crisis.
“We are seeing more and more patients get the influenza shot this year in pharmacy than ever before, last year over 2 million influenza vaccinations were provided by pharmacists, this year with the improvement in access from 10 years and older in QLD people are quite rightly choosing to be Immunised.”
PSA will continue to work closely with the Department of Health and Queensland Government to support pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources can be found through the PSA COVID-19 web page: www.psa.org.au/coronavirus
PSA contact: Chris Campbell PSA QLD President 0401 704 097