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More convenience for people in dispensing changes

More convenience for people in dispensing changes

People will have to make fewer trips to the pharmacy to collect their medicine under proposed changes to the way prescriptions are dispensed

The public is being asked for its views on the proposal, which would make it more convenient for people to get their medicine from their pharmacy by enabling most three-month prescriptions to be dispensed at the first visit, rather than in monthly lots as happens at present.

“It is clear from feedback we and other Government bodies have received that most people do not wish to visit the pharmacy three times to fill one prescription,” says PHARMAC Chief Executive Wayne McNee.

“This move would mean most people would be able to collect three months worth of medicine in one visit, something which should encourage people to take the full course of their medicine.”

The extra convenience for patients is one of a number of benefits the dispensing changes would bring for health providers, patients and the health sector as a whole, says Wayne McNee.

Another effect of the move would be to reduce the workload of pharmacists so they can devote more time to counselling patients on clinical issues.

“The Pharmacy Guild has being saying for some time that pharmacists have a heavy workload, particularly with the volume of funded pharmaceuticals increasing at the rate of 4-5 percent per year,” Wayne McNee adds.

“Less time spent dispensing will free up pharmacists’ time so they can devote more time to individual patients and develop their role in providing clinical pharmacy advice. This will enable pharmacists to play the important role they have identified as primary health providers in the new PHO environment.”

PHARMAC is consulting on the proposal, which has the full support of all District Health Boards.

A number of medicines such as sleeping pills and some types of painkilling drugs will continue to be prescribed and dispensed monthly. PHARMAC’s medical advisory committee, the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC), has been being consulted to ensure that there are no safety issues. [more] [Dispensing/2]

These and any other issues raised in consultation will be considered before any change is implemented.

Consultation responses will be received until 5pm, Monday 28 April.

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