Cutting Red Tape for Doctors

The process for prescribing hundreds of drugs, including cancer treatments, will be reviewed and simplified to benefit both patients and doctors.

Page last updated: 23 May 2014

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23 May 2014

The process for prescribing hundreds of drugs, including cancer treatments, will be reviewed and simplified to benefit both patients and doctors.

The Minister for Health Peter Dutton today released the Terms of Reference for the review of authorities to prescribe medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

There are currently 447 medicines on the PBS, known as “authority medicines”, which can only be prescribed with specific approval from the Department of Human Services.

Approval can only be obtained for complex authority medicines by submitting a form by post, or for “phone authority” medicines through a telephone call to the department. Only one authority item can be included on a prescription.

Mr Dutton said the review would be undertaken in consultation with the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Medical Oncologist Group of Australia, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Medicines Australia and consumers.

“Allowing patients to get the medicines they need as quickly as possible is a priority for the Australian Government,” Mr Dutton said.

“We are also committed to reducing unnecessary red tape and paperwork for health professionals when they prescribe medicines.

“There are occasions when the authority system is important to ensure that patients are only given medicines that are safe and appropriate.

“But there are many other instances where the authority system is an unnecessary step.

“This review is expected to significantly reduce the number of authority medicines which will allow clinicians to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork.

“It builds on the Government’s decisions to speed up PBS listing of vital medicines, making them available sooner to patients at subsidised rates.”

The review of prescription authorities will be undertaken in stages to deliver quick benefits to doctors and other prescribing health professionals, along with pharmacists and other dispensers.

The first group of medicines for review will be considered at the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee’s July meeting and will include cancer drugs.

The review will deliver savings to prescribers and dispensers estimated at more than $7 million a year.

Draft terms of reference for the review will be placed soon on the PBS website.

For further information contact the Minister’s office – 02 6277 7220

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