What is the RTPM system?

National Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) provides information to prescribers and pharmacists about a patient’s use of controlled medicines when they are considering prescribing or supplying these medicines.

Why is the RTPM system important?

Misuse of controlled medicines is a growing concern. Levels of overdose and accidental death from controlled medications in Australia have been rising.

Controlled medicines include pain medications such as oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl.

Technology can help reduce misuse and make sure that patients who genuinely need these medicines can still get them.  

What are the goals of the RTPM system?

The RTPM’s goals are to:

  • identify patients who are at risk of harm due to dependence or misuse of controlled medicines
  • identify patients who may be diverting these medicines
  • limit ‘doctor shopping’ — when people go to several doctors for prescriptions of a controlled medicine
  • provide state and territory regulators with data to detect prescribers who are not complying with regulations

How will we meet these goals?

The system will capture information on prescribing and dispensing events related to controlled medicines:

  • consistent with state and territory legislation
  • from regulatory systems
  • from prescribing and dispensing software
  • from a range of external data sources

It will produce real-time alerts and information for health professionals and state and territory regulators.

Prescribers and pharmacists will receive a notification and alerts when they prescribe or dispense controlled medicines. Individual state and territory legislation sets the criteria for controlled medicines for each jurisdiction.

The RTPM system consists of two components:

  1. A National Data Exchange (NDE). This captures information from state and territory regulatory systems, prescribing and dispensing software, and a range of external data sources.
  2. Regulatory systems within each state or territory. These manage the authorities or permits for controlled medicines in each state and territory. 

We developed and released the NDE in December 2018. We are now working with states and territories to help them integrate the NDE with their regulatory systems. 

Who works with us on the RTPM system?

Health Ministers from the Commonwealth, states and territories have agreed to national real time prescription monitoring. They will develop and adapt their systems to achieve a national solution.

States and territories are responsible for the regulation of controlled medicines (Schedule 8). Each state and territory has discretion as to which additional (Schedule 4) medicines they monitor.

States and territories will be responsible for developing the regulatory component that integrates with the NDE. They will make local decisions about their individual regulatory systems to reflect their specific regulatory environments.

We are working with states and territories to achieve a national solution. Each state and territory is at different stages of RTPM development.


For more information, please contact us.

National Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) contact

Contact us for more information about National Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM). This computer system aims to reduce misuse of controlled medicines in Australia.

Program officer
RTPM.implementation [at] health.gov.au

View contact

For state-specific information, contact:

Last updated: 
24 December 2019