NSW takes the lead on real-time prescription drug monitoring

The NSW government is set to complete the first phase of the implementation of the Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs (ERRCD) system in the next few months, with testing to follow before a wider roll-out to pharmacists and doctors.

NSW will be the first mainland state to implement the national system, which was designed by the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services.

According to a statement issued by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner had confirmed the state's progress in meetings with the society, which has long advocated for the introduction of the system.

PSA president Stephen Carter said Ms Skinner had indicated that the roll out phase was on “the near horizon”.

“It is a credit to the government that the ERRCD has progressed so quickly to a stage where implementation is now in sight,” Dr Carter said.

“This is a massive project and the logistics around development and implementation in a state the size of NSW have been formidable but the government has maintained it commitment to this very important project.”

Victorian health organisations, including the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association have been calling for the implementation of ERRCD for a number of years as avoidable deaths from prescription drug overdoses continue to be reported.

The Victorian government set aside $300,000 in this year's state budget to do an evaluation study on ERRCD, while other states are still weighing their options.

The ACT plans to introduce an interim version of the Tasmanian system called DAPIS/RTR before a full ERRCD roll-out.

Dr Carter said the ERRCD was designed as a holistic response to a significant health issue.

“Initially it is targeting drugs of addiction, or Schedule 8 drugs, but PSA would like to see this extended to include other drugs where inappropriate use may be a problem.

“This could include over-the-counter medications containing codeine over which concerns have been raised recently.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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