26 March 2020

Measures to ease prescription difficulties

Patients running short of prescription medications will be able to obtain additional supply under special arrangements that have been introduced in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

Effective immediately, pharmacists may dispense prescription medications, subject to certain conditions that include:

  • the pharmacist is satisfied the person is in immediate need of the medication for the continuation of treatment
  • that the medication has been prescribed to the patient previously
  • that it is not practicable for the patient to obtain a repeat prescription from a GP or other authorised health practitioner.

Western Australia’s Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson declared the temporary arrangements under the Public Health Act 2016.

They will remain in place until 31 May, at which time they will be reviewed and– if necessary –extended.

The arrangements cover all prescription medicines except controlled drugs. 

Dr Robertson said the new arrangements had been introduced in acknowledgement of the difficulties that patients could encounter trying to get GP appointments during the current crisis, particularly at a time when they were also being asked to remain at home.

Dr Robertson stressed that this was not an opportunity for patients to stockpile medications.

“It is designed to ensure patients health is not compromised as a result of disruptions caused by the present situation and there will be limits on the additional amount available,” he said.

Patients requiring additional supplies should endeavour to attend their regular pharmacy and take along some proof of prior use of the medication – such as a recent empty packet. They should also be able to produce valid ID and a Medicare Card.

See WA Health’s HealthyWA website for the latest information on COVID-19.

Media contact: 9222 4333

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