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Applications for authority to supply and prescribe some Schedule 8 medicines can now be made using SafeScript NSW

Safescript NSW can be used to apply for and manage approvals to prescribe or supply Schedule 8:

  • methadone and buprenorphine under the NSW Opioid Treatment Program 
  • psychostimulant medicines
  • medicines for pain management​
  • ​benzodiazepines (alprazolam and flunitrazepam)​
  • ketamine and esketamine for treatment resistant depression.

For more information see SafeScript NSW

Updated pha​rmaceutical regulatory guidelines for prescribing or supplying psychostimulants in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

From 13 November 2023 psychiatrists, paediatricians and neurologists are authorised under a class Authority to prescribe or supply psychostimulant medication for the treatment of ADHD in a non-drug dependent person. The class Authority can be used to prescribe up to a maximum daily dose of:​

  • ​​dexamfetamine 50mg 
  • lisdexamfetamine 70mg 
  • methylphenidate 108mg.

The Class Authority (CA2023)​ to prescribe psychostimulants  replaces the general authority number (CNS number or S28c number) issued to psychiatrists, paediatricians and neurologists. For more information see Prescribe a psychostimulant medication.

Destruction of Schedule 8 medicines at community pharmacies

As of 29 September 2023, the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 will allow a pharmacist who practises at a community pharmacy to destroy a drug of addiction (Schedule 8 medicine) at the pharmacy in the presence of an independent witness. For more information see Destruction of Schedule 8 medicines by community pharmacists.

NSW Pharmacy Trial for pharmacists prescribing medication

From May 2023, participating pharmacists can provide treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women aged from 18 to 65 years (inclusive) as part of the NSW Pharmacy Trial.

From July 2023, the trial will be expanded to allow eligible women to receive a resupply of their low-risk oral contraceptive pill (the pill) from participating pharmacists. Women must​ be aged from 18 to 35 years (inclusive) and have been prescribed the pill for contraceptive purposes in the last two years by a doctor (GP) or nurse practitioner.

For more information visit NSW Pharmacy Trial - Information for pharmacists.

Date of birth on prescriptions and in dispensing records

From 1 November 2022 all prescriptions for Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines, including handwritten and computer-generated prescriptions, must include the patient’s date of birth. The dispensing pharmacist must make a record of the date of birth in the dispensing system when dispensing the medicine.

Nicotine vaping products

Consumers require a prescription to be supplied with nicotine vaping products, such as nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine.

The TGA has not approved any nicotine vaping products for supply in Australia. Pathways for access to these unapproved therapeutic goods are the:

  • Authorised Prescriber Scheme
  • Special Access Scheme
  • Personal Importation Scheme

For more information, refer to Nicotine vaping.

Serious scarcity medicine substitution

In some circumstances it is legal for a retail pharmacist to substitute different strengths or formulations of a prescribed medicine, without contacting the prescriber.

Where there is a Serious Scarcity Substitution Notice on the TGA, substitution is permitted if it is appropriate and the patient consents. The notice will specify which products may be substituted and the specific circumstances it may be substituted.

Under Part 4A of the NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966, pharmacists must comply with all provisions of the relevant Commonwealth Serious Scarcity and Substitutable Medicine Instrument.

For information on subsidy under the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, visit the PBS.

Free take home naloxone - Australian Government pilot program

NSW is participating in the Australian Government take home naloxone pilot which supplies take home naloxone free of charge to people who may experience, or witness, an opioid overdose.

Nyxoid® nasal spray and Prenoxad® pre-filled syringe are available for free without a prescription at:

  • ​participating NSW community pharmacies listed on Your Room and
  • ​NSW public health clinics from credentialed health workers under the NSW Health Policy Directive Take Home Naloxone (PD2020_027​).

Outside of the pilot, naloxone is also available on a doctor's prescription or over the counter from a community pharmacist.

Approval for use of an Electronic National Residential Medication Chart (eNRMC)

The Commonwealth PBS transitional arrangements for use of an electronic National Residential Medication Chart (eNRMC) is under the National Health (Electronic National Residential Medication Chart Trial) Special Arrangement 2018.

Under legal instruments issued under the NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 a prescription may be issued for a person receiving residential care using an eNRMC:

a) At an approved residential care service specified in the Schedule to the Special Arrangement, or
b) Listed on the Transitional eNRMC Conformance Register maintained by the Australian Digital Health Agency.

Medication chart orders on the eNRMC satisfy as a form of prescription for pharmacist dispensing and also direct administration by RCF staff.

This applies to all medicines prescribed for RCF residents (that is, PBS and non-PBS).

Psilocybine and MDMA

From 1 July 2023 the substances psilocybine and MDMA (N, α dimethyl 3,4 (methylenedioxy)phenylethylamine) will be classified as Schedule 8 medicines when used for treatment resistant depression (TRD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) respectively. They will only be available for use by psychiatrists with authorisation under the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Authorised Prescriber (AP) scheme and an authority issued under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 from the NSW Ministry of Health. Psilocybine and MDMA will only be available for administration under the direct care of the authorised psychiatrist in a licensed private health facility.

For more information, refer to Psilocybine and MDMA (N, α- dimethyl 3,4- (methylenedioxy)phenylethylamine).

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Current as at: Tuesday 26 March 2024
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services