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Legislative changes to provide improved access to important medicines in Queensland

Media Release

Queenslanders will now have improved access to oral contraceptives and medicinal cannabis following legislative amendments made by the Queensland Government.

While women have been able to access a supply of PBS subsidised oral contraceptive without a valid repeat prescription since 2012, this amendment will provide access to non-PBS subsidised brands of oral contraceptives.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Queensland Branch President Shane MacDonald welcomed the amendment that will help address the inequity of access to oral contraceptives.

“Enabling the supply of all brands of oral contraceptives to women, under similar circumstances to those stipulated in the PBS Continued Dispensing Determination is a common sense approach by the Queensland Government, he said.

“It is important that women in Queensland are able to access the brand of oral contraceptive they require when there is an immediate need for the supply to allow for continued treatment.”

The Queensland Government also announced it has made an amendment allowing all Queensland medical practitioners to prescribe schedule 8 and schedule 4 medicinal cannabis without the requirement to have a Queensland Health approval.

Previously, only specialist medical practitioners were able to prescribe these medicines without first applying for Queensland Health approval.

Mr MacDonald said this amendment will remove duplication in the approval process and simplify prescribing of medicinal cannabis.

“Decreasing the administrative burden and improving access to medicinal cannabis is an important step to ensure patients continue to access cannabis products legally,” he said.

“Any process that removes red tape and allows pharmacists and prescribers to focus on clinical care and medication safety, ultimately leads to better outcomes for patients and more efficient use of resource.

Approval from Queensland Health is still required when prescribing a schedule 8 medicinal cannabis product for a drug dependent person and the usual approval process for prescribing controlled drugs applies.

Text by: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

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