Real Action on Misuse of Prescription Drugs

The misuse of prescription drugs is a step closer to being addressed as the Marshall Liberal Government opens tenders for a new real-time statewide monitoring system.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said real-time prescription monitoring (RTPM) will provide doctors and pharmacists with an instant notification when they are prescribing or dispensing a drug of dependence to quickly signal that a patient may be at risk of harm.

“The inappropriate use of prescription medicines has increased significantly in Australia,” Minister Wade said.

“To deliver this new system, we’re investing $7.5 million to roll out real-time monitoring software and provide training and support for health professionals to identify and provide treatment and support for people developing signs of addiction.

“Many prescription overdoses are linked to ‘prescription shopping’ between multiple doctors and pharmacies, and RTPM will cover all medicines listed in Schedule 8, such as fentanyl and oxycodone.”

The opening of the tender is a major step forward to fulfilling another Marshall Government election promise.

“This new system will make real-time information available about a person’s access to potentially harmful prescription drugs, so doctors and pharmacists will be able to do an on-the-spot check before prescribing or dispensing medicines that are at high risk of misuse.

“The RTPM system is an important tool that will help prescribers and pharmacists to make safe decisions about whether to prescribe or dispense drugs of dependence.”

A public tender for a regulatory system is now open, which, when integrated with the Commonwealth National Data Exchange, will allow South Australian clinicians to access a national RTPM system.

The Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Chief Public Health Officer, Associate Professor Nicola Spurrier, said the implementation of the RTPM will lead to safer clinical outcomes for patients and consumers.

“Currently, we reactively monitor Schedule 8 drug dispensing records to try to determine if an individual is potentially misusing the medicine,” Assoc. Prof. Spurrier said.

“Once this system is implemented, health professionals will be able to see, in real time, if someone is overly reliant on a drug of dependence.

“To develop the system, we are learning from the experiences of other jurisdictions to ensure we develop a program suitable for the needs of South Australian clinicians and pharmacists.

“As part of that, an external advisory group will meet for the first time today to provide information relevant to the implementation that may affect patients, health professionals and regulators.

“We recognise the importance of RTPM in protecting people from the misuse of potentially harmful medicines, and we are determined to adopt the best, most appropriate technology for this purpose.”

The tender closes 22 November 2019.

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