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Real Time Monitoring of Prescription Medicines

If elected in March 2018 a Marshall Liberal Government will provide $7 million to implement real-time prescription monitoring in South Australia.

The Problem

The inappropriate use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines has increased significantly in Australia.

The 2016 National Drugs Strategy Household Survey found 4.8% of the Australian population is involved in the misuse of pharmaceuticals.

The majority of people misusing pharmaceutical analgesics and opioids bought them from a pharmacy, with about one in five obtaining them with a doctor’s prescription.

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

Many prescription overdoses are linked to ‘prescription shopping’ between multiple doctors and pharmacies.

Some tools are currently available to monitor this behaviour but they are not integrated with dispensing or prescribing software and their use is not mandatory.

Real-time prescription monitoring (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. This empowers health professionals to identify inappropriate use and respond.

RTPM directly addresses the needless loss of life through misuse of drugs.

Coroners, pharmacists and medical practitioners have called for RTPM.

The Federal Government has developed the Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs (ERRCD) system which can be integrated with both prescribing and dispensing software.

This will provide prescribers 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 ERRCD 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 doing so.

Meanwhile, the Weatherill Labor Government has failed to act to address the growing misuse of prescription drugs.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018 a Marshall Liberal Government will provide $7 million to implement real-time prescription monitoring in South Australia.

This funding will support:

  • Rolling out monitoring software;
  • Providing training and support for doctors and pharmacists to identify and help prescription drug misusers; and
  • Providing counselling and addiction treatment services.

RTPM will cover all medicines in Schedule 8 such as morphine and oxycodone. Schedule 8 is given legal effect through state and territory legislation.

Other drugs with potential for misuse, such as diazepam, could be added in consultation with medical and pharmacy groups.

When implementation is complete, hundreds of GP clinics, pharmacies and hospitals will be able to do an on-the-spot check before prescribing or dispensing medicines that are at high risk of misuse.

Part of our plan for SA