Key messages

  • It is possible for a Victorian prescriber to write a prescription for pharmacotherapy to be dispensed in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. However, interstate regulatory groups still need 2–3 weeks’ notice of a transfer.
  • In the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia, pharmacists may not dispense pharmacotherapy prescriptions issued by a prescriber in another state. If you need to transfer a patient, you must arrange a transfer.

Pharmacotherapy transfers to the ACT, NSW, Queensland and South Australia

After the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) was introduced, it become possible for prescriptions written by Victorian prescribers for Schedule 8 poisons (including methadone or buprenorphine for pharmacotherapy, or opioid replacement therapy [ORT]) to be dispensed in:

  • the Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • South Australia.

This is dependent on meeting the interstate requirements. For instance, some pharmacies interstate will not be able to dispense prescriptions for ORT unless the prescription has been authorised in that state or territory.

Refer to the relevant interstate regulatory group for further information on any additional interstate requirements.

Please be advised that interstate regulatory groups generally require at least 2–3 weeks’ notice for interstate transfers. The following subsections provide the contact information required to notify and seek approval for an interstate prescription.

Australian Capital Territory

Pharmaceutical Services Branch (ACT)

Phone: (02) 6207 3974

Fax: (02) 6205 0997

Alcohol and Drug Program

(24-hour intake and assistance line)

Phone: (02) 6207 9977

Opiate Treatment Service

(clinic nurses who arrange transfers)

Phone: (02) 6244 2591 (reception)

(02) 6205 1000 or 02 6244 3781

(business hours only)

Fax: (02) 6244 4622

Email: adp.ots@act.gov.au

Note that Victorian prescribers require an authorisation from the ACT Pharmaceutical Services Branch (PSB) to prescribe ORT to a patient for dosing in the ACT. The approval number issued by PSB must be written on the prescription. The number of takeaways to be prescribed may also require prior approval in the ACT. A temporary transfer may be for up to 4 weeks.

Source: Pharmaceutical Services Branch (ACT) (August 2010)

New South Wales

Pharmaceutical Services Branch (NSW)

Phone: (02) 9391 9944

Fax: (02) 9424 5860

Note that Victorian prescribers require an authorisation from NSW Pharmaceutical Services Branch (PSB) to prescribe ORT to a patient for dosing in NSW. The NSW ORT guidelines stipulate that prescriptions for ORT are to be provided directly to the dosing point and not handed to patients. A temporary transfer may be for up to 4 weeks.

Source: Pharmaceutical Services Branch (NSW) (August 2010)

Queensland

Medicines Regulation and Quality

Phone: (07) 3328 9890

Fax: (07) 3328 9821

Email: mrq@health.qld.gov.au

Note that Victorian prescribers require an authorisation from Medicines Regulation and Quality to prescribe ORT to a patient for dosing in Queensland. A prescription for ORT written on a standard National Health Scheme (NHS) prescription is not valid in Queensland. A specialised ‘Written instruction’ form must be completed by the prescriber. A temporary transfer may be for up to 4 weeks.

Source: Medicines Regulation and Quality (August 2010)

South Australia

Drugs of Dependence Unit (SA)

Phone: 1300 652 584

Fax: 1300 658 447

Email: dassadrugsofdependenceunit@health.sa.gov.au

(Monday to Friday – 9 am to 5 pm CST)

Note that there is no additional requirement for a Victorian prescriber to obtain an authorisation from the Drugs of Dependence Unit (SA) to prescribe ORT to a patient for dosing in SA.

Source: Drugs of Dependence Unit (SA) (October 2010)

Pharmacotherapy transfers to the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia

Prescriptions written by Victorian prescribers for methadone or buprenorphine for ORT cannot be dispensed in the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia. These states or territories have legislated to prevent prescriptions for methadone or buprenorphine for ORT being valid unless the prescriber is practising in that state or territory.

To transfer an ORT patient to these states or territories, contact the relevant state authority for information on what to do.

Please be advised that interstate regulatory groups generally require at least 2–3 weeks’ notice for interstate transfers.

Northern Territory

For patients to be based in Darwin

Tobacco, Alcohol and Other Drugs (TADS)

Phone: (08) 8922 8399

For patients to be based in Alice Springs

Alcohol and Other Drugs Central Australia (ADSCA)

Phone: (08) 8951 7580

Source: Medicines and Poisons Control (NT) (August 2010)

Tasmania

Pharmaceutical Services Branch (PSB) (Tasmania) and the Nurse Unit Manager at Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS)

Phone: (03) 6166 0400

Fax: (03) 6233 3904

Note that Tasmanian prescribers must comply with Tasmanian ORT guidelines. Prescribers cannot prescribe doses above methadone 120 mg/day, and cannot provide split dosing. No takeaway doses can be prescribed if a patient transfers to the care of a Tasmanian prescriber for less than 3 months.

Source: Pharmaceutical Services Branch (Tas) (August 2010)

Western Australia

Community Pharmacotherapy Program

The Community Pharmacotherapy Program (CPP) coordinates the transfer of patients to and from Western Australia. Prescribers wanting to arrange the interstate transfer of a patient need to liaise with the CPP.

Phone: (08) 9219 1907

Fax: (08) 9471 0444

(Monday to Friday – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm WST)

Source: Pharmaceutical Services Branch (WA) (October 2017)

Contact details