Changed medicine regulatory requirements for health practitioners during COVID-19 pandemic

The regulatory burden on medical practitioners and pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic has been reduced when they supply or prescribe medicines.  Two public health emergency orders have come into effect.

The first public health emergency order allows pharmacists to continue to supply prescription medications without a prescription for one month in emergency circumstances except for Schedule 8 medicines.  This is the same arrangement that has been in place for people who are affected by Victoria’s bushfires.

The second reduces the requirements for doctors prescribing Schedule 8 medicines for non-drug dependent patients.  Prescribers will not be required to apply for a Schedule 8 treatment permit for non-drug dependent patients for the next six months, but instead check SafeScript.  Practitioners will need to apply for Schedule 8 treatment permits for drug dependent patients including opioid replacement therapy. 

For more informationon the public health emergency orders, see Special Gazette Number S158 Dated 26 March 2020 on the Victorian Government Gazette website.

Downloads

Limits on dispensing and sales of prescription and over-the-counter medicines – TGA

Treating a drug-dependent person -  key requirements in Victoria

Advice for doctors prescribing Schedule 8 medications during COVID-19 crisis

Advice to pharmacists supplying medicines to people affected by COVID-19

Medicines and poisons phoneline inactive

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is working around the clock with health services, the Commonwealth and international agencies to respond to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and to keep the Victorian community safe.

The Medicines and Poisons Branch (MPR) is contributing to the DHHS response. To enable this the MPR phoneline will not be operating for the immediate term.

If you have issues registering with SafeScript or logging in SafeScript, please contact SafeScript technical support on 1800 723 379.

If your query relates to drugs and poisons legislative controls in Victoria, please refer to the Licences and permits to possess (& possibly supply) scheduled substances page. Online forms are available at this location.

If your query relates to an urgent matter for a licence or permit application for an entity to purchase medicines or if you are reporting concerns about possible contraventions of drugs and poisons legislation please email dpcs@dhhs.vic.gov.au. We will respond to your query earliest convenience.

Schedule 8 permits and correspondence

From Monday 23 March 2020, Schedule 8 permits and correspondence will not be faxed to medical clinics. Medical practitioners and nurse practitioners are able to access their Schedule 8 permits and correspondence relating to a Schedule 8 permit application via SafeScript.

GP Clinical Advisory Service

The GP Clinical Advisory Service is a peer to peer service helping Victorian GPs support patients with high-risk prescription medication concerns and complex needs.