​Practical advice for community pharmacists to assist patients in home isolation and for physical distancing.

Last updated: 27 March 2020

Obtaining the prescription

If the patient has a prescription or repeat prescription at home

Ask the patient to get a friend/carer not in isolation to present the prescription or repeat to the pharmacy and deliver the dispensed medicines to the home.

If the patient does not have a prescription or repeat prescription at home

  • Ask the patient to organise their prescription by phoning their usual GP
  • For most prescription medicines, a GP can email or fax an image-based prescription to the patient’s preferred pharmacy. The original paper prescription does not need to be provided to the pharmacy. If there are any repeats on the image-based prescription, these will need to be dispensed at the same pharmacy. Find out more about image-based prescriptions
  • Where an image-based prescription cannot be used, a friend/carer can collect the prescription from the GP and present it to the pharmacy or the GP can phone, fax or email a prescription to the pharmacist, and mail the original prescription within 24 hours.

Delivering the medicines

Step 1: Pack the medicine in plain packaging. Step 2: Delegate a responsible person to deliver the medicines (The delivery person does not need personal protective equipment (PPE). The delivery person should be an adult if delivering Schedule 8 or Schedule 4 Appendix D medicines.). Step 3 -  Where possible, notify the patient of the expected delivery time. Step 4 - At delivery, ring the doorbell or the contact number. Step 5 - Stand back a minimum if 1.5 metres to check delivery is received (If possible, a person in the household not in isolation is preferred to receive the delivery.) 

Special temporary authority for emergency supply

A special temporary authority to allow the pharmacist to supply ongoing therapy of prescription medicines (other than Schedule 4 Appendix D and Schedule 8 medicines), during the COVID-19 pandemic, is in place until 30 September 2020.

The pharmacist can supply a Schedule 4 medication without a prescription, where the pharmacist is satisfied there is immediate need, the medicine has been previously prescribed, be for continuation of current essential treatment and it is impracticable to obtain a prescription.

For more information, refer to Advice for pharmacists for managing the supply of medicines in the pandemic and assisting patients in home isolation.

Page Updated: Friday 27 March 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW