Pharmacies play an important role in ensuring people in the community can access their medications, while also keeping themselves and others safe. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, people are being asked to self-isolate if they have symptoms and are awaiting COVID-19 test results, or if NSW Health considers they are likely to have been recently exposed to COVID-19. Some groups are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and may also benefit from home delivery options.
Most people are able to organise prescription medicine supply by telephoning their GP and their usual pharmacy for arrangements to be made.
As of 17 April 2020, community pharmacists in NSW can dispense a prescription for most medicines using an image of the prescription received by email or fax, rather than requiring a paper prescription. Further information is available about
If the patient has a paper prescription or a repeat prescription, ask the patient to either:
See more information on
providing healthcare remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the patient has an electronic prescription, they can forward it by email or SMS for the pharmacy to scan. The pharmacy can then prepare the delivery of medicines. Visit the Electronic Prescriptions website for more information.
Pharmacists should consider:
Pharmacies should offer a home delivery service. Pharmacists should use professional judgement about how to best consult with a patient and should apply the following guidelines:
Medicines which have been prescribed, dispensed and labelled for a patient, and Schedule 2 or unscheduled medicines, can be sent to the patient by post or courier or other carrier (such as a bus driver in rural areas).
In the case of Schedule 8 medicines delivered by carrier, the sender should obtain a receipt from the carrier and require the carrier to obtain a receipt from the addressee and deliver it to the sender.
There should be nothing on the external packaging that identifies the contents as a Schedule 8 or Schedule 4 Appendix D medicine.
Australia Post regulations also apply, see Australia Post - Dangerous and prohibited goods and packaging guide. Sections 10.10, 10.13 and 10.14, require that the quantity sent "does not exceed the maximum quantity that may be dispensed at one time" and have special packaging requirements for tablets, liquids, pastes and powders.
Pharmacists should apply the following advice when supplying DAAs:
Community pharmacies providing support to patients in home isolation are an important part of the patient's care team. Pharmacy staff may encounter patients in home isolation, or those attending the pharmacy for general assistance, who require additional mental health support. If you have immediate concerns for the safety of a patient experiencing a mental health crisis, consider contacting a support line such as the Suicide Call Back Service or Lifeline on the patient's behalf, during the episode of care.
A factsheet on accessing mental health services in NSW during the pandemic has been developed to support both patients and health professionals to access services. The Pharmacists' Support Service is available for pharmacists (not for general public) to access.
Pharmacists may seek advice on compliance with the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods legislation from the Pharmaceutical Regulatory Unit, Ministry of Health, contact the Duty Pharmaceutical Officer on telephone 02 9391 9944.
Pharmacists may seek advice on managing pharmacy closures from the Pharmacy Council of NSW on telephone 1300 197 177.