Real-time Prescription Monitoring Welcomed

By Sophie Blackshaw
Monday, 17 November, 2014

With more Victorians dying each year from prescription drug overdoses than on the state's roads, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Victorian Branch has welcomed the Victorian Coalition’s pledge to develop a real-time prescription monitoring service.

PSA Victorian Branch President Michelle Lynch said the Coalition’s commitment to implementing the service, which will cost $6.98 million over five years, is a positive move.

"A real time prescription monitoring system will be an important tool that assists doctors and pharmacists to effectively manage patients and prevent misuse of pharmaceuticals," Ms Lynch said.

"It will provide transparency of information between health professionals to allow them to make informed and considered decisions to ensure the best health outcomes of the patient and ensuring quality use of medicine".

"PSA has been working with the Victorian Government and other health professions on a number of initiatives including advocating for real time prescription monitoring as one of the tools to combat pharmaceutical misuse in Victoria.

"PSA stands ready to offer its expertise, in collaboration with doctors and other health professionals, to support the implementation of a real time prescription monitoring system in Victoria," Ms Lynch said.

The PSA Position statement on real-time reporting by pharmacists ‘seeks the support of Governments to establish a coordinated and consistent system of real time reporting by pharmacists that provides the capacity to flag and track any substance of interest and which enables timely health interventions for at-risk consumers while also informing law enforcement activities where appropriate.’

The prescription monitoring system has also been strongly welcomed by AMA Victoria. AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said that with a rising number of Victorians misusing or being addicted to prescription drugs, the service is needed.

"Doctors and pharmacists need to know when a patient was last prescribed / dispensed a drug of dependence", Dr Bartone said.

Real-time prescription monitoring has the potential to stop doctor shopping and script forgery, and can instead lead to help and support for those with addiction.

AMA Victoria detailed the need for this system in the 14-15 State Budget submission and also in the Whole of Government Drug and Alcohol Strategy submission in 2011.

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