Date: 26 February 2021
The RACGP has made a submission to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) regarding their proposal to make continued dispensing of medicines by pharmacists an ongoing arrangement.
Continued dispensing is an arrangement where pharmacists can provide certain medicines to patients with stable conditions, once per 12 months, without a valid prescription. The arrangement is at the national level, in addition to prescription owing or emergency supply arrangements in several states or territories. Continued dispensing was introduced by the government as an emergency measure during the 2019-20 bushfires, and then extended through to March 2021. The PBAC proposes to make it permanent for a specific list of medicines.
The RACGP submission does not support this proposal. The RACGP considers that the arrangement is not needed as GPs are already very accessible, and with telehealth and e-prescribing it is now easier than ever to get a new prescription from a GP. A better and safer way to increase access to medicines under emergency situations would be to increase the number of drugs included in the doctor’s bag.