National real-time medicine monitoring will save lives: PSA

31 May, 2016

Hundreds of lives would be saved and hospitalisations reduced if a national real-time recording and reporting system for medicines was adopted, according to a new statement by the peak national body for pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

Recent statistics show misuse of pharmaceuticals has increased from 3.7 per cent of the Australian population in 2007 to 4.7 per cent in 2013, the comprehensive policy statement highlighted.

"PSA calls for the immediate implementation of a national real-time recording and reporting system to help address the increase of harm resulting from the inappropriate use of both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines," the position statement said.

A national system could be achieved through the implementation and evaluation of the Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs (ERRCD) system across all jurisdictions and for the system to be expanded to include all drugs with potential for dependence.

To be an effective monitoring tool, the PSA statement said the proposed ERRCD system must be:

  • A compulsory system used for all drugs with the potential for addiction – not just prescription medicines
  • Supported by the adoption of nationally uniform regulatory controls for poisons
  • Appropriately integrated with prescribing and dispensing systems to ensure seamless use by prescribers and pharmacists
  • Functional for real-time use, so that a prescriber or pharmacist concerned about a consumer’s use can access accurate and up-to-date data.

The statement also said: "PSA believes that real-time reporting should not be a barrier to the legitimate use of analgesics by consumers with severe disabling pain or those receiving palliative care.

"PSA believes that the adoption of nationally uniform regulatory controls for poisons will significantly enhance the efficiency and operation of a real-time reporting and recording system and urge regulators to give this due consideration."

The PSA has reiterated its calls for the Federal Government to adopt a national real-time monitoring system, when it made its Budget 2016-17 submission.

"The PSA believes it should be a high priority for the Government to implement a national real-time recording and reporting system capturing all prescribing, dispensing and supply of over the counter drugs with potential for dependence," PSA National President Joe Demarte said.

"Having an ERRCD system would be a major boost in fight to curb inappropriate use of prescription and OTC medicines in Australia that have a potential for harm and addiction."

Read full Position Statement Real-time recording and reporting of drugs of dependence, online>>

*Source: National Drugs Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) conducted in 2013 with results analysed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).