​​ SafeScript NSW  can now be used by prescribers to apply for approvals online to prescribe Schedule 8 medicines under the NSW Opioid Treatment Program (OTP). Pharmacists can also use SafeScript NSW to monitor the OTP approval history for their patients.

SafeScript NSW allows pharmacists to view a summary of the patient’s OTP information such as the approval number, start and end dates, prescriber, dose, and dose information. Pharmacists are also able to update dosing point details enhancing patient safety and reducing risks such as double dosing.

OTP medicines are part of the  Section 100 Highly Specialised Drugs (HSD) Program (Community Access) arrangements. For further information, including FAQs and example PBS scripts see Opioid Treatment Program – Transition to Section 100 Highly Specialised Drugs Program.

On this page

The NSW Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) seeks to reduce the social, economic and health harms associated with opioid use. The OTP delivers pharmacotherapy and associated services to opioid dependent patients in NSW through the public sector (including Justice Health) and private sector (private clinics, general practitioners, psychiatrists, and community pharmacies). There are currently 3 types of opioid pharmacotherapy available in NSW: methadone, buprenorphine, and buprenorphine-naloxone.

In general, OTP prescribers are required to obtain an authority/approval from the NSW Ministry of Health prior to prescribing under the program. Prescribers can now submit applications via SafeScript NSW  which allows for faster processing and ensures submissions are completed quickly and accurately.  Pharmacists can view OTP approvals in SafeScript NSW. Alternatively, you may contact a Senior Pharmaceutical Officer at the Pharmaceutical Services Unit on (02) 9424 5921 during business hours to confirm the validity of an authority/approval.

How to become a re​gistered OTP pharmacy

To supply methadone or buprenorphine (including buprenorphine-naloxone) under the NSW OTP a pharmacist requires registration with the Ministry of Health using the  Application to Become a Registered Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) Dosing Point.

Note, the application includes the protocol for supplying methadone or buprenorphine under the NSW OTP (NSW Opioid Treatment Program Community Pharmacy Dosing Protocol TG201).

There are a number of requirements that must be met before an application will be considered:

  • all owners of the pharmacy must be listed on the application form
  • the name of the pharmacy entered on the application form appears on the register of the Pharmacy Council of NSW
  • the pharmacy listed on the application form must be approved to supply pharmaceutical benefits under section 90 of the National Health Act 1953.

Completed forms should be submitted to the Pharmaceutical Services Unit by email to MOH-PharmaceuticalServices@health.nsw.gov.au or fax to (02) 9424 5860.

Applications are generally processed within 5 business days. Note that methadone and/or buprenorphine cannot be ordered from a supplier until the registration process is completed.

Changes to a​ registered OTP pharmacy

Re-registration to supply methadone and/or buprenorphine under the NSW OTP is required in the circumstances where there is to be a change in:

  • address
  • ownership (new proprietors or partners)
  • the trading name of the pharmacy

Changes to a registered OTP pharmacy can be made via submission of the Application to Become a Registered Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) Dosing Point.

To minimise disruption to the supply of methadone and/or buprenorphine to the pharmacy, applications for re-registration should be submitted in advance but no earlier than 7 business days before changes (in name, ownership, etc.) take effect. Fax the completed form to Pharmaceutical Services Unit on (02) 9424 5860.

Self-audit tool for OTP dosing pharmacies

To improve the quality of NSW Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) dose administration services, a self-audit tool is now available for community pharmacies in NSW.

Community pharmacists provide an essential contribution to the NSW OTP with an important role in reducing opioid-related harms in our communities. From early 2019, the Pharmaceutical Services Unit (PSU) will undertake regular audits of NSW dose administration points, including community pharmacies providing OTP services to strengthen the safety and quality standards of service delivery across NSW.

To assist pharmacies, a pharmacy self-audit tool has been developed collaboratively by the NSW Ministry of Health, Pharmacy Guild and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Use the tool to:

  • assess your current practice against best practi​ce standards
  • help you identify gaps in practice and compliance with the regulation
  • improve your practice in the administration of doses for the OTP, including record keeping, storage of S8 medicines and documentation practices.

If you have any questions about the program, the self-audit tool or the Pharmacy Incentive Scheme, please contact the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (NSW branch) on (02) 9467 7100 or healthservices@nsw.guild.org.au

Current as at: Friday 10 November 2023
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services