Real-time prescription monitoring in Queensland took a major step forward with the passing of the Medicines and Poisons Act and the Therapeutic Goods Act in the Queensland Parliament today.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said once introduced, the monitored medicines database would provide life-saving benefits by assisting doctors when prescribing dependence-forming medicines, minimising over-prescription and reducing doctor shopping in Queensland.
“I made a commitment to deliver a real-time prescription monitoring system in Queensland in 2020, and passing these Bills is the first major milestone in that process,” Mr Miles said.
It is anticipated that the real-time prescription monitoring system will be available for use by Queensland prescribers and pharmacists in the second half of 2020.
“Medicines to be monitored will include controlled drugs such as pharmaceutical opioids and other prescription-only medicines associated with drug dependence and the potential to cause harm, such as benzodiazepines and products that combine codeine with other medicines.”
The Medicines and Poisons Act also incorporates pest management activities, which involve poisons such as pesticides and fumigants. The regulation of these activities under the Medicines and Poisons Bill will ensure comprehensive protection of public health. This includes fee for service providers in primary production and horticulture settings to prevent or reduce the likelihood of potentially harmful pesticides or fumigants entering the food supply chain.
“With the benefit of extensive consultation and industry support, these Acts streamline and modernise the Medicines and Poisons framework in Queensland,” Mr Miles said.
Establishing real-time prescription monitoring will meet a recommendation of the Queensland Health Ombudsman’s 2016 report, ‘Undoing the knots constraining medicine regulation in Queensland’ and a commitment made by the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services to the COAG Health Council in April 2018 to establish the system in 2020.
The new Medicines and Poisons Framework will:
- allow more effective monitoring of medicines, poisons and therapeutic goods
- streamline prescribing of medicinal cannabis by enabling non-specialist medical practitioners to prescribe without the need for approval from Queensland Health, eliminating duplication with the Commonwealth approval process
- ensure Queensland Health will better be able to respond to new or emerging substances that are unregulated
- improve Queensland Health’s ability to monitor and respond to health risks, and enable the chief executive to make emergency orders, emerging risk declarations, recall orders and public warnings
- provide improved certainty and safety for manufacturers and consumers
- simplify licencing requirements
- improve national uniformity by aligning key terminology with the Commonwealth Poisons Standards.