Victorian floods highlight urgent need for permanent continued dispensing
10 January 2024
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Victorian Government’s move to expand continued dispensing measures in response to widespread flooding in Central Victoria.
The introduction of Public Health Emergency Order 25 today aligns with the Commonwealth Government’s National Health (Continued Dispensing) Determination made in December 2023, and expands access to more than 750 PBS-listed molecules for people in emergencies who cannot access their prescription or get in touch with their regular prescriber. The Order is set to expire in February.
PSA Victoria President Dr Amy Page FPS welcomed the Emergency Order, saying that it allowed pharmacists to continue supporting patients with their health.
“Continued dispensing plays a crucial role in maintaining the continuity of care for patients, particularly in natural disasters where people can be separated from their medicines. We know that this only becoming more common with the effects of climate change.
“The temporary expansion of continued dispensing is vital in ensuring that Victorians can access their essential medications without unnecessary delays or interruptions during the current floods.
“We cannot wait for natural disasters to happen before we put measures in place to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities. Making continued dispensing arrangements permanent for all medicines, for example, would allow pharmacists to take a proactive role in the post-disaster health of their communities.
“I urge anyone who cannot access their medication for whatever reason to speak to their local pharmacist. We are here to help,” Dr Page concluded.
PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS again urged the Federal Government to work with state and territory governments to permanently protect emergency access to medicines.
“Regulations should be in place to support the safe and effective use of medicines, not hinder access to them,” Dr Sim said.
“Our nation’s fragmented approach is affecting the care we can provide patients, preventing continued access to essential medicines and disrupting care when people are already vulnerable to further illness.
“PSA firmly believes that all PBS General Schedule medicines should be permanently included in continued dispensing arrangements to avoid delays in emergency situations.
“I urge all state and territory leaders to implement permanent continued dispensing measures, giving all Australians equal access to the medicines they need in an emergency,” Dr Sim concluded.
Media contact: Georgia Clarke M: 0480 099 798 E: firstname.lastname@example.org