Serious shortage medicine substitution

In certain limited circumstances it will now be legal for a retail pharmacist to substitute different strengths or formulations of a prescribed medicine product which is unavailable, without contacting the prescriber. (Separate arrangements apply in NSW public hospitals.)
Where there is a Serious Shortage Substitution Notice on the TGA website, and a Serious Shortage Medicine Substitution Authority under the NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008, published on this website, the substitution is permitted. The Notice and Authority will specify which exact product may be substituted for a prescribed product, and under what conditions. For example, substitution of 60 x 20mg tablets of a medicine, on a prescription for 30 x 40mg tablets of the same medicine, if the pharmacist judges it appropriate for the patient.

Free take home naloxone - Australian Government pilot program

NSW is participating in the Australian Government take home naloxone pilot which supplies take home naloxone free of charge to people who may experience, or witness, an opioid overdose.

Nyxoid® nasal spray and Prenoxad® pre-filled syringe are available for free without a prescription at:
Outside of the pilot, naloxone is also available on a doctor's prescription or over the counter from a community pharmacist.

Image-based prescriptions

From 17 April 2020, pharmacists in NSW can dispense a prescription for most medicines using an image of the prescription, rather than requiring a paper prescription.

This temporary measure will better support patients, prescribers and pharmacists during the COVID-19 response, and allow better integration of the prescription and supply of medicines with the Commonwealth Government’s COVID-19 response telehealth reforms.

Special temporary authority for emergency supply without a prescription

A special temporary authority to allow the pharmacist to supply prescription medicines (other than Schedule 4 Appendix D and Schedule 8 medicines) during the COVID-19 pandemic is in place until 31 March 2021.

More information

Electronic National Residential Medication Chart Trials

Approval to trial electronic forms of the National Residential Medication Chart (an eNRMC) at specific residential care facilities (RCFs) and community pharmacies has been issued to the following software vendors:

  • Best Health Solutions
  • Medi-Map
  • Webstercare

Use of the eNRMC must comply with the National Health (Electronic National Residential Medication Chart Trial) Special Arrangement 2018. Only the RCFs and community pharmacies in the Schedule of the Special Arrangement may use an eNRMC.

Under exemptions to the NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 electronic prescribing on an eNRMC can be used:

  • as a form of prescription for pharmacist dispensing, and
  • as a form of medication chart order to direct administration by RCF staff.

This applies to all medicines prescribed for RCF residents (that is, PBS and non-PBS).

Page Updated: Thursday 8 October 2020
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services