Tuesday, August 15, 2017
It Seems Victoria Is Being Sensible In Getting Going On The Prescription Monitoring System.
This appeared last week:
7 August 2017
The Victorian government’s decision to go it alone with a mandatory real-time prescription monitoring for high-risk medicines has exposed some disarray in the plans for a national scheme.
Victoria’s Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, recently announced a $29.5 million plan to roll out the surveillance program to crack down on the misuse of dangerous prescription drugs within the next year, including $1 million to train doctors and pharmacists.
“In an Australian first, and following worldwide best practice, using the system will be mandatory for doctors and pharmacists before prescribing or supplying a high-risk medicine,” the state minister said in a statement.
As well as Schedule 8 drugs such as morphine and oxycodone, the new rules will apply to benzodiazepines, “Z-class” medicines taken for insomnia, and the anti-psychotic, quetiapine. Codeine will be added to the watch list at a later date.
The Victorian announcement on July 28 came the same day federal Health Minister Greg Hunt made a $16 million commitment to activate a national monitoring scheme, to begin next year, covering S8 drugs.
To date, real-time prescription monitoring operates only in Tasmania. However, that system, launched in 2012 as the forerunner of the commonwealth’s Electronic Recording and Reporting Controlled Drugs (ERRCD) system, is voluntary and confined to S8s.
Doctors have commended Victoria’s step, but they are in the dark as to how the state will manage the burden of a real-time mandatory system, including S4 medications.
Melbourne addiction medicine specialist, Dr Benny Monheit, said the tougher Victorian rules signalled a “new frontier” for Australia and the mandatory nature of the proposed system could present an enormous technology challenge.
The slowness of many other States is discussed further on in the article:
There is also coverage here:
8 August, 2017
It will soon be illegal for pharmacists in Victoria to dispense controlled medications without checking a prescription monitoring system.
This will follow the introduction of the state’s $29.5 million real-time-monitoring system in 2018.
And the state government is tabling legislation that makes it mandatory for pharmacists to check a patient’s prescription history before they dispense a high-risk medicine.
Prescriptions for schedule 8 medicines and all other high-risk medications, including benzodiazepines, ‘Z’ class medicines used for insomnia and quetiapine will be monitored by the system.
Codeine will also be monitored, but will be included after the 2018 upscheduling.
Health minister Jill Hennessy says Victoria will have the most comprehensive real-time prescription monitoring system in Australia.
“We know it will save lives. Through our legislation, we will be able to monitor new medicines that emerge and prevent them causing harm in the community.”
And also here:
The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Real-time Prescription Monitoring) Bill 2017 establishes the legislative framework that will underpin Victoria’s real-time prescription monitoring system.
The move comes after Health Minister Greg Hunt’s 28 July announcement that the government would be moving “immediately” towards implementing a national real-time monitoring system for dangerous prescription drugs.
Victoria’s Bill will provide doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists with access to a system to review prescription histories of patients, monitor use of S8 medicines and monitor other high-risk medicines, including benzodiazepines.
It will also make it mandatory for prescribers and pharmacists to check the system before writing or dispensing a prescription for a high-risk medicine, with some exceptions in certain circumstances.
“Due to the limitations of the existing Commonwealth software, specific fit-for-purpose software will be built for Victorian clinicians,” says the Victorian Department of Health.
“Our legislation will allow Victoria to implement the most comprehensive real-time prescription monitoring system in Australia. We know it will save lives,” says Victorian Minister for Health Jill Hennessy.
Given that the other States seem to be moving rather more slowly the Victorians can act as a useful pilot for the rest of the country.
I hope the system delivers the benefits expected.
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Tuesday, August 15, 2017