Getting medicines during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

Understand your options for getting medicine during COVID-19 restrictions, including digital copy prescriptions, home delivery services, and getting medicine from a pharmacy in person.

Paper and digital copy prescriptions

Doctors can provide you with a paper prescription or send a digital copy of the prescription to your preferred pharmacy following a telehealth consultation.

If your doctor sends a digital copy to a pharmacy, you must fill the prescription at that pharmacy. If there are any repeats on the prescription, the repeats must be kept at that pharmacy. You can contact the pharmacy to arrange the next supply of your medicine when you need it.  

Your doctor is legally required to keep the paper prescription if they have sent the digital copy to a pharmacy.

If you already have a paper prescription at home, you can ask a friend or family member to fill this prescription at your preferred pharmacy if you are isolating. Alternatively, you can ask your doctor for a digital copy of a new prescription  to be sent to your pharmacy following a telehealth consultation.

See our guide for patients on how to access prescriptions and prescription medications via telehealth.

You can get most medicines with a digital copy of a prescription. If your medicine is restricted under legislation, your doctor can only provide a paper prescription.

Home delivery of medicines

Home delivery is a good option if you are isolating, are more vulnerable to serious illness, or prefer to stay at home.

Call your preferred pharmacy or check their website to see whether:

  • they have your medicine in stock
  • they offer home delivery
  • you can order online or over the phone

If needed, you can ask a friend or family member to place an order for you.

If you have a paper prescription, you must post it or get someone to take it to the pharmacy before they can deliver the medicine.

If your doctor sent a digital copy of the prescription, the pharmacy will send the medicine to the address on the prescription.

Make sure your doctor and pharmacist have your correct address.

Delivery drivers should practise physical distancing when they deliver the medicine. This means they may:

  • not ask for a signature
  • leave the package near your door instead of handing it to you directly

Delivery drivers may also wear protective gear, such as face masks and gloves, as a precaution. This does not mean they are unwell.

Delivery service for vulnerable groups and people in isolation

The Home Medicines Service offers free home delivery of:

You can use the service if you are:

  • isolating at home on the advice of a medical practitioner or a COVID-19 hotline
  • aged over 70
  • an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person aged over 50
  • immunocompromised or have a chronic health condition
  • a parent of a new baby
  • pregnant
  • an aged care home resident, if your facility does not use another home delivery service

The service may be available from any pharmacy approved to supply PBS and RPBS medicines.

Each delivery through the service must include at least one PBS or RPBS medicine. You can order other items as part of the same delivery.

You can access the service free once a month. If you want more deliveries, pharmacies may charge a fee.

Learn more about the Home Medicines Service or contact your preferred pharmacist for details.

Getting medicine from a pharmacy in person

You can continue to get medicine from a pharmacy in person if you are healthy. Remember to practise physical distancing.

Pharmacy staff may wear protective gear, such as face masks and gloves, as a precaution. This does not mean they are unwell.

If you cannot get to a pharmacy and home delivery is not an option, ask a friend or family member to fill your prescription for you.

Limits on some medicines

Limits apply to some prescription and over-the-counter medicines. These help to make sure everyone has access to the medicine they need.

Learn about:

Related information

Find out how to access health services and look after your mental health during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Staying informed

To stay up to date on COVID-19:

You can also join our WhatsApp channel or use our COVID-19 app.

Australian Government WhatsApp channel for COVID-19

Join our COVID-19 WhatsApp channel to learn the latest on Australia's response to coronavirus (COVID-19). If you're already a WhatsApp user you can send a message to the channel to connect. If you don't have WhatsApp, download the app to join the channel.

Coronavirus Australia app

Stay up to date with official information and advice about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. You can check your symptoms and get notified when urgent information and updates are published.

Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources

A collection of resources for the general public and industry about coronavirus (COVID-19).

Contact

National Coronavirus Helpline

Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19) or help with the COVIDSafe app. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

View contact

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)

TIS National is for people who do not speak English and for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients.

View contact

Last updated: 
22 May 2020

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