Pharmacists in NSW have been authorised by the state government to dispense maximum Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) quantities of prescription medications to patients without a prescription.
This move has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Patients will be able to receive the medications from March 26 until September 30 in situations where a pharmacist is satisfied that the need is immediate.
The medicine must have been previously prescribed for the continuation of current essential treatment where it is impractical to obtain a prescription.
NSW is the first state to extend the 30-day emergency supply authority due to Covid-19 after it was implemented during January’s bushfire emergency, which is set to expire on March 31.
Supermarkets and pharmacies will also be allowed to open 24/7 under relaxed planning rules signed off in NSW today.
NSW Minister Rob Stokes made the decree, which means communities can access essential goods at all times if the shops choose to open.
President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, NSW Branch, David Heffernan, said the Guild has been working closely with government in response to this health crisis and that it encourages the Federal Government to now match this extension by extending the provision for patients to access their medication on the PBS to avoid “undue additional costs”.
PSA NSW President Professor Peter Carroll congratulates the NSW Government for extending the emergency supply rules.
“PSA fully supports and thanks the NSW Government for this very sensible approach which will reduce the concerns of those in the community who may find it hard to access medicines in this challenging environment,” he said.
“This will enable patients to still have ongoing access to their regular medicines in the event that they are not able to see their doctor for a prescription or must self-isolate.
“We are hearing from patients that their GPs are overwhelmed and can be difficult to get an appointment. This flexible approach to health care will ensure pharmacists can continue to support the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Pharmacists have full access to these resources via the NSW Health website: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/covid-19-pharmacy.aspx and additional resources can be found through the PSA Covide-19 web page at: https://www.psa.org.au/coronavirus/