National approach to prescription drug misuse

The Australian Government will invest over $16 million to deliver the national roll-out of real time prescription monitoring for medicines to directly address the needless loss of life from misuse of these drugs.

Page last updated: 28 July 2017

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28 July 2017

The Turnbull Government will invest over $16 million to deliver the national roll-out of real time prescription monitoring for medicines to directly address the needless loss of life from misuse of these drugs.

The Real Time Prescription Monitoring system will provide an instant alert to pharmacists and doctors if patients received multiple supplies of prescription-only medicines.

This system will save lives and protect the community. This is something of absolute national importance.

Real time monitoring has been called for by the Australian Medical Association, Pharmacy Guild and by many families across the country who have been devastated by the loss of a loved one to misuse of prescription medicine.

We have listened to these calls and today we are taking action.

With this injection of funding – and close collaboration with states and territories – we have the means to provide a nationally consistent, mandated system for real time monitoring of controlled drugs.

I look forward to continuing our work with all states and territories to make this national approach a reality.

This issue of misuse of prescription medicine is a growing trend in our community, and although it is not the only response required, it is a very important step.

Real time reporting will assist doctors and pharmacists to identify patients who are at risk of harm due to dependency, misuse or abuse of controlled medicines, and patients who are diverting these medicines.

This can happen if a patient has developed a dependency on controlled medicines, or is selling these medicines to others, including for the purposes of manufacturing other illegal drugs.

Controlled medicines include morphine, oxycodone, dexamphetamine and alprazolam.

The Australian Government first funded the development of the Electronic Reporting and Recording of Controlled Drugs system to assist state and territory governments to improve their monitoring and regulation of controlled medicines in 2013.

This project was initiated with $5 million allocated under the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement (2010-15).

It is an important public health and medicine safety measure, providing regulators, doctors and pharmacists with information regarding supply of controlled medicines and other medicines with potential for misuse.

(ENDS)

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