In order to ensure equitable access to medicines for all Australians, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, in consultation with the Department of Health, are requiring community pharmacists to enforce limits on dispensing and sales of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. This measure is also supported by the National Pharmaceutical Services Association, representing pharmaceutical wholesalers.
It is critical to protect the access of medicines for Australians. Pharmacists should continue to limit the supply of specific prescription only and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines listed on the TGA website to:
In addition and subject to professional discretion, pharmacists should continue to limit dispensing and OTC sales of all other medicines to one months' supply or one unit.
Dispensing of multiple repeats is permitted only for valid Regulation 49 prescriptions, which must be used sparingly by PBS prescribers and only in exceptional circumstances in accordance with legislated criteria. If pharmacists have doubts about the appropriateness of a particular Regulation 49 prescription please discuss with the prescriber.
The TGA has also identified OTC medicines where pharmacists have been requested to limit sales, including:
Note that the Schedule 3 listing for salbutamol inhalers changed in 2020 and is limited to one pack per person being treated:
Pharmacists are encouraged to record supply so that people requiring salbutamol inhalers have record of supply.
The Pharmacy Guild is a member of the TGA’s medicine shortages working party which continues to monitor, assess and manage any medicine supply issues. This can include working with the TGA and Department of Health to limit orders from wholesalers to ensure equitable distribution of stock, including to regional and rural pharmacies.
Supply of OTC and prescription medicine quantities that are not clinically required for an individual may be illegal under State and Territory law and contravene Pharmacy Board Professional Practice guidelines.