The Pharmacy Incentive Scheme is “Funded by NSW Health Department”.

The NSW Branch encourages members to become involved in the Methadone/Buprenorphine Program. Methadone/Brupenorphine dispensing (dosing) requirements are the same as all other Schedule 8 items, and a current script must be held before dosing can occur. Take away doses are the sole prerogative of the prescriber and there can be no departure from this authorised by any person.

A Community Pharmacy Approach to Pharmacotherapy Treatment

Methadone has a long proven record for successfully treating heroin dependence. Methadone Maintenance Treatment dramatically reduces crime and deaths from overdose as well as reducing risk of HIV infection. Since October 2000 Buprenorphine has been available as an alternative treatment with a similar success rate. In April 2006 Suboxone (bupenorphrine/naloxone) will be available as another treatment option.

A patient well managed on methadone treatment will be free of withdrawal symptoms and more able to function as a normal member of the community. In recent years the medical and pharmacy professionals in conjunction with NSW Health have sought to improve health outcomes for patients on the NSW Pharmacotherapy Program. The utilisation of Patient Methadone Agreements and treatment plans with the doctor and pharmacist defines the objectives and expectations for each patient in treatment. A recent survey of patients in Public Clinics has revealed that over 80% of patients would prefer to receive their treatment in Community Pharmacies.

All pharmacists dispensing pharmacotherapies should implement a Patient Agreement to clearly state the conditions of dosing and the mutual obligations of the Patient and the Pharmacist. A sample Contract and other support material is available on this web site from the Guild.

Under the NSW Government Pharmacy Incentive Scheme pharmacists and prescribing doctors will be consulting with their local Area Health Service to produce the best health outcome for the patient and their families. The coordinated care approach will chart the progress of the patient as well as offer family support as required. Currently the State Wide Advisory Team (SWAT) is evaluating and coordinating activities with Area Health Services, Divisions of General Practice and Community Pharmacy.

A well managed pharmacotherapy program in Community Pharmacy should be professionally rewarding.

Pharmacists Wishing to Establish a Pharmacotherapy Dispensing Service Should:

  • Phone Pharmaceutical Services Branch NSW Health and register for pharmacotherapy supply. Phone: (02) 9879-3214
  • Register with Pharmacy Guild of Australia NSW Branch to claim financial incentives and help to establish the service in your Pharmacy. Phone: (02) 9467 7100.
  • Establish an accurate recording system for methadone, biodone forte, subutex or suboxone. Copies of Subsidiary Drug Register are available at no cost from Pharmacy Guild of Australia, NSW Branch, Phone: (02) 9467 7100.
  • Buy disposable cups and child resistant methadone dispensing bottles.
  • Inform your local prescriber or Area Health Drug and Alcohol Service of your Pharmacotherapy dispensing service (The Guild will help you with this).
  • Attend an Opioid Dependence Treatment workshop (The Guild hold these workshops regularly, free of charge, and will post, fax or email dates as they become available).

Financial Incentives

New pharmacies dispensing pharmacotherapies will have a once only incentive payment of $1100 (including GST) as well as the dispensing fee.

Both new and existing pharmacies are eligible for a dispensing fee of $110 GST inclusive per capita twice a year for patients dosed continuously for two months prior to 30th April and 31st October each year (for a maximum of 20 patients).

All funds have been supplied in line with the NSW Government Action Plan in response to the NSW Drug Summit.


Contact Person at the Pharmacy Guild is Paul Jones, Project Manager, Pharmacotherapy Incentive Scheme
Phone: (02) 9467 7100  |  Email:


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Page last updated 23 February 2017