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Active Ingredient Prescribing changes

Posted January 20 2021

The Department of Health has changed legislation so that Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation PBS (RPBS) medicines must be prescribed using the active ingredient names, instead of the brand name of a medicine.

Active Ingredient Prescribing will become mandatory from February 1, 2021.

The goal of this initiative is to help people understand what medicines they are taking and to reduce the risk of people accidentally taking multiple doses of the same medicine under different names. Other benefits include allowing pharmacists to easily dispense an alternative generic medicine if the patient’s usual brand is unavailable and a potential reduction in out-of-pocket costs to patients and the PBS via increased uptake of generic medicines.

Exceptions to Active Ingredient Prescribing include:

  • Handwritten prescriptions
  • Paper-based medication charts in residential aged care settings
  • Medicines with four or more active ingredients
  • Non-medicinal items which don’t have active ingredients (e.g., dressings, nutritional products).

This change has implications for your medical software and you are encouraged to contact your IT Provider to ensure your software and all GP workstations are upgraded by February 1, 2021.

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