Continued Dispensing – A new urgent supply option for pharmacists

Sep 02, 2013

Reference :

The Guild and PSA are pleased to advise that from 1 September 2013, pharmacists
in South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia have an additional
option for the urgent supply of eligible PBS medicines in the absence of a

Continued Dispensing allows the supply of a standard PBS quantity of an eligible
medicine to a patient when:

  • there is an immediate need for the medicine to continue 
  • it is not practicable to obtain a prescription
  • continuation of the medicine is supported by a history of ongoing therapy and clinical review in the past 12 months and
  • the medicine is safe and appropriate for the patient

Continued Dispensing is an initiative that has been funded by the Australian
Government under the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement and aims to maintain
patient adherence to therapy by preventing treatment interruption due to the inability
of a patient to obtain a timely prescription renewal.

Joe Demarte, Acting PSA President, explained: ‘Continued Dispensing supply does
not replace existing emergency supply provisions already in place, but provides
pharmacists with another option for ensuring continuity of essential medicines’.

Continued Dispensing supply is currently limited to oral contraceptives and
cholesterol-lowering medicines (specifically ‘statins’). The Guild and PSA have been
working with the Department of Health and Ageing to develop the initiative.

As part of Continued Dispensing, pharmacists will apply professional judgement
consistent with the professional guidelines and protocol to manage any risks
associated with supply of these medicines without a prescription.

The Guild’s National President Kos Sclavos said: ‘Continued Dispensing is a win-win
for patients and pharmacists with patients having access to urgent supply of PBS
medicines and pharmacists no longer stuck with broken packs or waiting for
prescriptions in order to claim for payment.’

Under Continued Dispensing, patients pay the relevant PBS co-payment and
pharmacists claim relevant Government subsidies as part of their routine PBS claim.

Commonwealth legislation has been changed to enable Continued Dispensing
supply as a pharmaceutical benefit and legislation has been changed in South
Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia to support the initiative. Legislation in other jurisdictions is being reviewed.

Pharmacists should familiarise themselves with the relevant legislation and guidelines before undertaking Continued Dispensing and use the Practice Tool developed to record decisions relating to requests for the urgent supply of prescription medicines.

Information about Continued Dispensing can be found at, including which states and territories have legislation permitting Continued Dispensing supply. The professional guidelines and Practice Tool can be found at

Peter Waterman 0487 922 176 (PSA)
Greg Turnbull 0412 910 261 (GUILD)