14/01/2020 | Stephen Wade MLC | Better Services

People impacted by the current catastrophic fires in Kangaroo Island are being supported to access prescribed medication from their pharmacist without a prescription.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, said the new Regulations under the Controlled Substances Act, 1884, will mean in the event of an emergency, South Australian pharmacists will be able to provide people with medication without a prescription.

“Natural disasters and other emergencies can have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of communities and it is important that we act quickly to ease the strain where we can,” Minister Wade said.

“The bushfires impacting communities both here and interstate have highlighted the difficulties people can have to obtain prescription medication during emergencies.

“People who have had to evacuate have enough concerns without having to worry about destroyed prescriptions.”

“These new regulations will allow pharmacists to fulfil their duty of care to patients in times of emergencies and also better support the health and wellbeing of their local communities.”

The new emergency arrangements will allow the Minister Wade to declare an emergency area and timeframe in which greater amounts of a prescription medication can be legally dispensed without a prescription.

The Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Chief Public Health Officer, Associate Professor Nicola Spurrier, said under the previous legislation, in an emergency situation, pharmacists were only allowed to provide medication for up to three days without a prescription.

“In an extended emergency situation, a few days’ supply of medication may not be enough to allow people to continue to take their medication,” Assoc. Prof. Spurrier said.

“While people can currently seek prescription medication from hospitals if necessary, this is not ideal in an emergency situation when the health system may already be under pressure.”

Under the legislation, a pharmacist must be satisfied that there is good reason for the person’s inability to produce a prescription for the drug; the person being supplied is under medical treatment with the drug and the continued sale or supply of that drug is essential to the health of that person.

For more information, visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/bushfires.