Strategies to promote access to medications during the COVID-19 pandemic

J. Simon Bell, Lorenna Reynolds, Christopher Freeman, John K. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateOtherpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background During the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable and older people with chronic and complex conditions have self-isolated in their homes, potentially limiting opportunities for consultations to have medications prescribed and dispensed. Objective The aim of this article is to describe initiatives to ensure ongoing access to medications during the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussion Cooperation between wholesalers and purchase limits in pharmacies have helped to ensure supply of essential medications. Therapeutic substitution by pharmacists is permitted for specific products authorised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Prescribers are permitted to issue digital image prescriptions, and implementation of electronic prescribing has been fasttracked. Expanded continued dispensing arrangements introduced during the bushfire crises have been temporarily extended. Pharmacists are permitted to provide medication management reviews via telehealth. A Home Medicines Service has been introduced to facilitate delivery of medications to people who are vulnerable or elderly. Anticipatory prescribing and medication imprest systems are valuable for access to endof- life medications within residential aged care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-532
Number of pages3
JournalAustralian Journal of General Practice
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

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