Emergency supply of medicines

A pharmacist may provide up to three days’ emergency supply of a Schedule 4 (S4) medicine for a person or an animal without a prescription where satisfied that:

  • the person or animal is under regular treatment with the medicine
  • it is not practical to obtain a prescription in sufficient time to allow for treatment to continue uninterrupted
  • interruption of treatment is likely to cause harm.

Pharmacists must label the medicine and make a record of the supply as usual. If the medicine is packaged in a non-divisible pack (e.g. eye drops), one standard pack can be supplied.

Three days emergency supply of Schedule 8 medicines is not permitted.

To provide more than three days’ emergency supply, of a Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 medicine, a pharmacist must be in receipt of a:

  • verbal or electronic direction from a prescriber
  • prescription faxed from a medical practice.

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

Where emergency supply may be required, the contact with a prescriber to receive this direction may be initiated by either the prescriber or pharmacist.

In these cases, the prescriber must send the prescription to the pharmacy within 24 hours. Prescriptions for emergency supply must not be given directly to patients. If a valid prescription is not received within 5 working days, the pharmacist should inform the Department of Health.

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