Queensland Prescribing Requirements Reduced

This article applies to organisations that provide health services in Queensland.

Health (Drugs and Poisons) Amendment Regulation (No. 2) 2020 (Qld)

Please be advised that on 19 June 2020 the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Amendment Regulation 2020 (Qld) (the Amending Regulation) commenced and amended the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (Qld) (the Regulation).

The purpose of the Amending Regulation is to reduce the regulatory burden on medical practitioners, pharmacists and the community.

Prescribing Medicinal Cannabis

The prescribing of medicinal cannabis is regulated by both the Australian Government and the Queensland Government. A medical practitioner is required to obtain Federal approval before they can prescribe medicinal cannabis products. However, in addition to Federal approval, regulation 78A of the Regulation also required a medical practitioner to obtain approval from Queensland Health before being able to prescribe medicinal cannabis products.

The Amending Regulations have removed the requirement for medical practitioners to obtain approval from the Queensland Government. Medical practitioners will now only need Federal approval to prescribe medicinal cannabis products.

Pharmacists

The Amending Regulation has authorised pharmacists to supply UTI drugs to a person under the Drug Therapy Protocol – Pharmacist UTI Trial.

The Amending Regulations also authorise a pharmacist to sell oral hormonal contraceptives without a prescription if the pharmacist reasonably believes:

  • the person has been treated by a prescriber for a continuous period of a reasonable length before seeking the drug from the pharmacist;
  • it is not practicable for the person to obtain a prescription for the drug before needing to continue treatment with the drug; and
  • the person has not, in the year before seeking the drug from the pharmacist, been sold the drug without a prescription from the dispensary at which the drug is sought.

The Amending Regulation prohibits a pharmacist from selling more than a manufacturers pack of a hormonal contraceptive without a prescription. The pharmacist must also only sell the drug in a container that has a specific label attached to meet the requirements of the Regulations (i.e. states ‘Immediate Need’ has a ‘Keep out of reach of children’ warning in red, etc.).

The Amending Regulation inserts a new record keeping requirement for a pharmacist supplying an oral hormonal contraceptive without a prescription. The pharmacist must make a record that contains the information contained in regulation 194A (i.e. the name and address of the person, date of sale, description of why the pharmacist is selling the drug, etc.).

The Amending Regulation requires that this record and the record made by a pharmacist when they sell a restricted substance to be kept for at least 2 years.

Failure to comply with the above obligations carries a maximum penalty of 40 penalty units (currently $5,338).

National blood supply arrangements

The Amending Regulations also streamline the supply of restricted drugs that are an immunoglobulin blood product to patients. The amendment permits certain pathology providers and Australian Red Cross Life Blood staff to, without an endorsement, issue, obtain, possess, sell by wholesale, supply or use a restricted drug that is a listed immunoglobulin blood product whilst carrying out the person’s functions or duties under the national blood supply arrangements.

Conclusion

Medical practitioners who prescribe, or plan to prescribe medicinal cannabis should be made aware of the changes to State approval requirements. Further, organisations should ensure that pharmacists who intend to supply UTI drugs or oral hormonal contraceptives only do so by following the requirements summarised above.


Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au

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