Information for prescibers for the Opioid Treatment Program issuing e-Prescriptions (Exemption to Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008).

Last updated: 02 March 2022

​What are ePrescriptions?

An electronic prescription (ePrescription) is a digital version of a paper prescription created through conformant software. ePrescriptions are currently available by generating a QR code ‘token’ or via an Active Script List where a patient has opted in. For more information refer to the Commonwealth Department of Health and NSW Health websites.

Issuing ePresciptions for the Opioid Treatment Program

Exemptions to the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 for ePrescriptions means some requirements for paper Schedule 8 medication prescriptions do not apply:

  • Prescribers do not need to handwrite details on an ePrescription. 
  • Prescribers do not need to sign ePrescriptions by hand.
Medical and nurse practitioners prescribing OTP via ePrescriptions must ensure the prescription is legal, safe, and complies with the requirements of the OTP which includes clear directions for dosing or for unsupervised doses to be dispensed.

Requirements for prescribing for OTP:

  • ePrescribing does not replace the requirement for a prescriber to acquire prior written Authority from the Ministry to prescribe methadone or buprenorphine to a patient.  
  • Confirmation of patient identity prior to pharmacy dispensing or supervised administration is critical. Prescribers must provide the pharmacist with identification information (including photograph) for OTP patients commencing dosing at a pharmacy.
  • Any repeats issued must be retained at the nominated dosing point pharmacy and will not be given to the patient.

Send tokens for OTP ePrescriptions directly to the pharmacy 

Before ePrescribing oral methadone or buprenorphine to a patient, prescribers should confirm with the pharmacy that they can dispense from ePrescriptions. Before issuing the ePrescription to the Prescription Exchange Service (PES), contact the pharmacy to advise that a token will be sent via email and confirm the email address for the pharmacy. Once the token is used by a pharmacy to retrieve the ePrescription from the PES and dispense the medicine, it cannot be reused. If a token is mis-sent or reported not to have arrived at the nominated pharmacy, the ePrescription MUST be cancelled and re-issued. 
Pharmacies will not accept tokens that have been issued to a patient without prior confirmation from the prescriber. This is to ensure the token has not been fraudulently obtained or altered. 

Using the Active Script List for OTP ePrescriptions

Patients need to register at the pharmacy nominated for supervised administration of OTP medicines before their first ePrescription can be uploaded to the Active Script List. Once the patient agrees to the terms and conditions for use, all their ePrescriptions (OTP and non-OTP) will be added to their Active Script List. Patients can request prescribers to exclude a prescription from their Active Script List. 

ePrescriptions may not be available in some settings

Prescribers practicing in NSW Health clinics and hospitals and private OTP clinics may not have access to conformant electronic prescribing systems. 

Current as at: Wednesday 2 March 2022