Continued Dispensing of PBS Medicines in Defined Circumstances (Continued Dispensing) initiative
The Continued Dispensing initiative will allow pharmacists to supply eligible PBS medicines to a customer when there is an immediate need for the medicine, but it is not practical for the customer to get a prescription.
Initially scheduled for 1 July 2012, commencement of Continued Dispensing will now take place in 2013, once state and territory legislation is in place.
When the initiative starts, pharmacists will be able to supply:
- Oral Hormonal Contraceptives for systemic use, and
- Lipid Modifying Agents, specifically the HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (‘statins’) as listed in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits.
Pharmacists will be able to supply medicine under this initiative when:
- the medicine requested is listed in the relevant legislation as eligible for supply under continued dispensing
- there is an immediate need for the medicine and the customer can’t get to their prescriber
- the medicine has been prescribed before
- the customer’s therapy is stable
- there has been prior clinical review by the prescriber that supports continuation of the medicine
- there is an ongoing need for the medicine, and
- the medicine is safe and appropriate for the customer.
Current arrangements let pharmacists supply prescription only Schedule 4 medicines without a prescription in urgent or emergency situations. This initiative will complement these current provisions.
While pharmacy dispensing software may have the functionality for continued dispensing supply, pharmacists won’t be able to supply and claim medicines until this initiative is implemented in 2013.
The initiative is funded under the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement. It will help patients receive treatment without interruption if they can’t get their prescription renewed in time.
Pharmacists will need to comply with the Guidelines for the Continued Dispensing of eligible prescribed medicines by pharmacists. The guidelines are being developed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and will be available before the initiative is implemented.
Key components of the guidelines:
- Continued dispensing will not replace existing emergency supply arrangements, but will complement them. Therefore, pharmacists will have the following four options when a customer asks for medicine without a prescription:
- supply the medicine once they receive confirmation from the prescriber. The prescriber can confirm by phone or other means, with a written prescription to follow
- provide an emergency supply of the medicine (usually 3 days with no need for a follow-up prescription)
- provide the medicine under continued dispensing, a follow-up prescription isn’t needed, or
- don’t supply the medicine.
- Continued dispensing can only be used once in a 12 month period (per customer, per medicine).
- Prescribing medicine will continue to be the responsibility of the patient’s doctor or alternative authorised prescriber.
- The pharmacist must tell the most recent prescriber in writing, within 24 hours, that the medicine has been supplied.
- Pharmacies must have internal policies and procedures that outline record keeping requirements for supplying medicines under this initiative.
Unlike other Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement (5CPA) programs, pharmacies don’t need to register for these new arrangements.
Further information will be available to pharmacists before legislation has changed in their state or territory.
This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing as part of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement between the Australian Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Last updated: 1 July, 2012