Continued dispensing

Continued Dispensing refers to a Commonwealth initiative relating to continuity of supply, for some medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), where a patient does not have a valid prescription.

WA poisons legislation supports this initiative via a Structured Administration and Supply Arrangement (SASA).

Continued Dispensing rules

Pharmacists are able to supply an S4 medicine specified in Schedule 1 of the National Health (Continued Dispensing) Determination 2012 (Commonwealth) (external site).

These medicines currently include:

  • ‘statins’ – atorvastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, simvastatin
  • oral contraceptives – levonorgestrel, levonorgestrel with ethinyloestradiol, norethisterone, norethisterone with ethinyloestradiol, norethisterone with mestranol.

The criteria which must be met for Continued Dispensing are detailed in the Department of Human Services Education guide - Continued Dispensing Initiative - PBS requirements (external site).

A patient may be provided with a Continued Dispensing supply for any medicine only once in any 12 month period. The pharmacist must inform the patient’s usual prescriber that the supply has occurred within 24 hours.

Pharmacists must label the medicine and make a record of the supply as usual.

Practice guidelines

Continued Dispensing supply must follow the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Guidelines: Continued Dispensing (external site).

These guidelines provide more detail on establishing patient eligibility, stability and clinical review, safety and appropriateness, communication with patient and prescriber, and record keeping needs.

Emergency supply rules

For other medicines not covered by the Continued Dispensing rules, a pharmacist may also supply medicines in an emergency, for:

  • 3 days treatment of a Schedule 4 medicine
  • according to the verbal instructions of a prescriber.
Rules for supplying Schedule 4 medicines in emergency circumstances are detailed in the article Emergency supply of medicines.

More information

Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch
Mailing address: PO Box 8172, Perth Business Centre, WA 6849
Phone: 9222 6883
Email: poisons@health.gov.au