Dispensing prescriptions

Pharmacists may dispense a prescription medicine on the receipt of a valid prescription. The Guidance Note: Dispensing prescriptions (Word 440KB) provides detailed information on the requirements for dispensing.

Valid prescriptions may be handwritten, computer generated or electronic. A medication chart may be used for patients in hospital at discharge or for supply to patient in a residential care facility.

Pharmacists are expected to take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that a prescription has been issued by an authorised prescriber.

Prescriptions must contain all required information to be valid and in date.There are additional requirements for Schedule 8 prescriptions.

For all prescriptions, but especially for Schedule 8 prescriptions, the pharmacist must be satisfied as to the authenticity of a prescription, identity of the person presenting the prescription, and bona fides of the prescriber. Where a Schedule 8 prescription cannot be verified with the prescriber, the pharmacist can supply up to two days treatment, provided the prescription is otherwise valid. Forged prescriptions must be immediately reported to the Department of Health.

Upon dispensing pharmacists must annotate a prescription to show that it has been dispensed. A record of the supply must be made in the pharmacy electronic dispensing system.

A dispensed medicine label must be labelled in accordance with the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP).

In emergency cases a pharmacist may supply 3 days of treatment with a Schedule 4 medicine. Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines can be supplied in an emergency if personally authorised by a prescriber, and a prescription is sent to cover this instruction within 24 hours.

A pharmacist may supply one PBS quantity of oral contraceptive pill or statin under Continued Dispensing rules.

More information

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