Prescription Monitoring Legislation Introduced Into Parliament

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with delivering real-time prescription monitoring in Victoria with the introduction of legislation into Parliament today.

Too many families across Victoria have lost loved ones from prescription medicine misuse. Last year there were 372 overdose deaths involving prescription medicines – higher than the number of deaths on Victorian roads.

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Real-time Prescription Monitoring) Bill 2017 establishes the legislative framework that will underpin Victoria’s real-time prescription monitoring system.

The Bill provides doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists access to a system that will review prescription histories of patients in their care.

The system will monitor all Schedule 8 medicines such as morphine and oxycodone – which carry the highest risk of misuse – and monitor other high-risk medicines, including all benzodiazepines such as diazepam.

It will also streamline the existing Schedule 8 permit requirements to reduce duplication and regulatory burden.

The Bill will make it mandatory for prescribers and pharmacists to check the system before writing or dispensing a prescription for a high-risk medicine, with some exceptions in certain circumstances.

As Victoria will be the first state to roll out a prescription monitoring system of this scale, and to ensure it is embedded in clinical practice, appropriate transitional arrangements will be in place before this requirement comes into effect.

Due to the limitations of the existing Commonwealth software, specific fit-for-purpose software will be built for Victorian clinicians.

The Bill strikes the right balance between maximising the safety and wellbeing of all Victorians and minimising any additional impact that the system may have on prescribers and pharmacists.

The Government has invested $29.5 million to implement a real-time prescription monitoring system in Victoria to reduce the rising tragedy of Victorian lives lost from prescription medicine misuse.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“Our legislation will allow Victoria to implement the most comprehensive real-time prescription monitoring system in Australia. We know it will save lives.”

“Through our legislation, we will be able to monitor new medicines that emerge and prevent them causing harm in the community. The system will protect Victorians now, and in the future.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

“We are taking action to ensure people misusing prescription drugs can get the support and treatment they need to beat their addiction.”