Changes to painkiller records
QUEENSLAND will slash the reporting time for pharmacists to notify when they dispense prescription painkillers from monthly to weekly.
Health Minister Cameron Dick made the announcement and said the misuse of prescription painkillers was a serious problem that needed to be tackled.
“This is a growing problem not just in Queensland but across Australia and internationally, and we need to respond,” Mr Dick said.
“This move to weekly reporting will provide doctors with a greater level of awareness of how often and where and when a person has filled a prescription for painkillers.”
Pharmacists are currently required to notify on a monthly basis when they dispense prescriptions for what are known as Schedule 8 or S8 drugs.
The details are entered onto a database which doctors can access via telephone.
“We are talking about painkilling drugs such as fentanyl, oxycodone and morphine,” Mr Dick said.
“Fortunately, we have these drugs to help people manage and cope with severe and extreme pain, both chronic and acute.
“Unfortunately, there is a growing prevalence of these painkillers being misused.”
Mr Dick said it could be both the person prescribed the drug or a third party who could misuse the painkillers.
“Access by doctors to a patient’s prescription history and other treatment information enables doctors to make better-informed prescribing decisions, and reduce a person’s misuse of these drugs,” Mr Dick said.
Queensland Health launched a seven-day telephone enquiry service to give doctors improved access to the information.