Prescribing a safer system for pharmaceuticals

The State Liberals are committing $7 million to stem the growing tide of abuse of pharmaceutical drugs in South Australia by implementing real-time prescription monitoring (RTPM).

The misuse of prescription and over the counter medicines is a serious problem with a 2016 National Drugs Strategy Household Survey finding 1 in 20 Australians were involved in the misuse of pharmaceutical drugs.

The current system for obtaining prescription drugs from a doctor and over the counter pharmaceuticals from a pharmacy is open to exploitation and that contributes to the increased abuse of pharmaceutical drugs.

“Too many people are dying, too many lives are being damaged by the abuse of powerful drugs obtained by ‘prescription shopping’ between multiple doctors and pharmacies,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

“Some of these drugs are being used by the individuals who are obtaining them and others are being trafficked on the black market.

“Some estimate that deaths from prescription drug overdoses exceed deaths from road accidents.

“Curbing the abuse of legal and illegal drugs in our community will be a priority of a government I lead.

“Coroners, pharmacists and medical practitioners have called for RTPM.”

RTPM of people accessing drugs of dependence provides medical clinics, pharmacies and hospitals with an instant alert when a patient has received multiple supplies of prescription-only medicines.

RTPM provides doctors and pharmacists with access to real-time data on the patient or consumer, the drug being dispensed and any previous dispensing history.

The Federal Government has provided $16 million to support the implementation of the system but each state and territory needs to invest additional resources to enable the system to operate in their jurisdictions.

Tasmania has fully implemented RTPM and Victoria is currently doing so.