11 April 2020

Changes to prescription rules to support telehealth during COVID-19

Effective immediately, patients can now receive prescription medication via telehealth consults conducted during the COVID-19 response.

The Chief Health Officer has approved an Emergency Notice under the Public Health Act to amend prescription rules for telehealth consults conducted during COVID-19. The changes affect doctors, other prescribers and pharmacists in Western Australia.

Under normal rules, a prescriber must send the patient’s hard copy paper prescription to a pharmacy to allow dispensing by the pharmacist.

These new changes announced today will enable doctors and other prescribers who conduct a telehealth consultation to send a digital image of the prescription to the patient’s preferred pharmacy, to authorise dispensing.

Upon receiving the digital image from the prescriber, the pharmacist can dispense the prescription and supply the medicine to the patient without delay.

Both the prescriber and pharmacist will still need to keep full records.

This temporary arrangement will remain in place until 30 September 2020.

The arrangements are intended to complement similar changes made by the Commonwealth Government, that allow supply of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines through a digital image.

The changes apply to all prescription medicines, with the exception of controlled drugs. For these medicines, changes have been made to provide doctors a longer time to get the hard-copy prescription to the pharmacy.

See WA Health’s HealthyWA website for the latest information on COVID-19.

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