The role of the Pharmaceutical Services section of the Health Protection Service is to ensure the safe supply of medicines, poisons and therapeutic goods to the ACT community.
The section is responsible for conducting a range of regulatory activities for ensuring that medicines and/or poisons are prescribed, stored and supplied in accordance with local legislation. The section is also responsible for regulating community pharmacy ownership and premises in the ACT.
Pharmaceutical Services is also responsible for distributing information across the ACT community about medicine and therapeutic goods recalls, to ensure that the public is protected from any harm from the use of sub-standard or unsafe products.
Opioid Treatment Guidelines
In February 2018, ACT Health adopted the National Guidelines for Medication Assisted Treatment of Opioid Dependence 2014 (the National Guidelines). The National Guidelines replace ACT’s existing opioid maintenance treatment guidelines.
The adoption of the National Guidelines aligns the ACT with other jurisdictions in the interest of national consistency.
The National Guidelines provide improved evidence based clinical information and support for clinicians in the delivery of opioid maintenance treatment. The National Guidelines will be supported by updated Controlled Medicines Prescribing Standards for clinicians and an ACT‑specific document with relevant local information named Opioid Maintenance Treatment in the ACT: Local Policies and Procedures.
For more information about opioid maintenance treatment, please visit the controlled medicines webpage.
Expansion of the Pharmacist Vaccination Program
On 22 June 2016 the ACT Pharmacist Vaccination Program was expanded to allow pharmacists to administer the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine to patients without a prescription. This means that adults aged over 18 years can now be vaccinated against the flu and whooping cough from their local pharmacist.
Not all community pharmacies offer vaccination services. Consumers are encouraged to ask their local pharmacy about whether they provide vaccination services and vaccination costs.
All pharmacists must undertake additional training before they vaccinate people against the flu or whooping cough. The ACT Pharmacist Vaccination Standards set out the rules and requirements for pharmacists to administer vaccines.
For more information about pharmacist vaccinations, please visit the Pharmacist Vaccinations webpage.
Amendments to Controlled Medicines
In 2016, ACT Health developed amendments to the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 to improve the regulatory framework and reduce the burden placed on doctors, pharmacists and patients in the supply of controlled medicines.
As outlined in the Controlled Medicines Prescribing Standards, prescribers are able seek approval to prescribe a therapeutic class of controlled medicine(s) for a patient through a category approval system, as determined by the Chief Health Officer (CHO) or they can apply for approval for each drug, form and strength.
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