SA Government extends emergency dispensing for pharmacists

1 April 2020


The SA Government has made an announcement to extend the special authority for emergency supply of medicines without a prescription in a move that has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).


Patients will 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.


This provision continues to be in place while the declaration of a major emergency remains in force or until advised by the SA Government.


The medicine must have been previously prescribed and be for the continuation of current essential treatment where it is impractical to obtain a prescription.


PSA SA/NT President Robyn Johns congratulated the SA Government for extending the emergency supply rules.


“PSA fully supports and thanks the SA Government for this very sensible approach which will support patients continued access essential medicines,” she said.


“GPs across SA are under extreme pressure and this measure will provide certainty to patients who cannot access their usual prescriber due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”


“As the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA has called for and worked with the SA Government to allow the continuation of emergency dispensing that was put in place during the recent bushfire crisis to ensure patients and members of the community continue to gain access to much needed medicines.”


This measure is also supported the recent announcement by the Federal Government where the medicine can be supplied at PBS prices under the continued dispensing arrangements.


Aligned with the changes 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, pharmacists are better placed to support their communities during this pandemic.


Specific details on substitutions have not yet been released and the changes will be implemented through the Scheduling Policy Framework and Poisons Standard soon.


The arrangements in South Australia excludes certain drugs including Schedule 8, benzodiazepines, stimulants, and some medications including hydroxychloroquine where prescribing is restricted to certain medical specialists.


PSA will continue to work closely with the Department of Health and Wellbeing to support pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources can be found through the PSA COVID-19 web page: https://www.psa.org.au/coronavirus/


PSA contact: Helen Stone PSA SA/NT State and Territory Manager 0418 846 426


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