Australian pharmacy owners will not push to have the oral contraceptive pill down-scheduled, despite delays in the implementation of legislation for continued dispensing, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia says.
Continued dispensing, a key program from the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement (5CPA), was due to be implemented on 1 July 2012, but delays in implementing the required legislation at state and territory level have meant pharmacists are still unable to dispense whole supplies of the oral contraceptive pill and lipid lowering agents without prescriptions.
While pharmacists in Australia are waiting for the states and territories to pass legislation approving continued dispensing, there is a growing push in New Zealand for the oral contraceptive pill to be made available over the counter.
Although the Guild is keen for pharmacists to be able to provide the pill without a prescription in emergency cases, a spokesperson told Pharmacy News it was not going to propose that it should be rescheduled.
“The continued dispensing initiative under the 5CPA will allow pharmacists to dispense oral contraceptives in restricted circumstances without a prescription,” the spokesperson said.
“This measure is still awaiting state and territory consequential legislative amendments [with the Federal parliament passing legislation last year].
“The Guild does not propose down-scheduling of oral contraceptives.”
While the continued dispensing is in the hands of state and territory legislators, Dr Steve Hambleton, AMA president, has maintained his opposition to the program.
Speaking in the February edition of Pharmacy News, Dr Hambleton said continued dispensing should only occur where a patient has a valid prescription for a repeat.
“Any further dispensing that’s required needs a clinical decision, that should rightly be made by the GP,” he said.