GPs blindsided by major changes to opioid pack sizes

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Angst and confusion have marred the introduction of welcome changes to opioid prescribing, GPs say.

GPs, pharmacists and patients have been caught unawares after major changes to opioid pack sizes came into effect this week.
 
The slashing of pack sizes for many potent opioids came into effect on Monday 1 June – but GPs say crucial detail on which medications are affected is missing.
 
The communication issue led to some GPs being unable to prescribe the new, smaller pack sizes through their usual clinical software until an update was rolled out days after the new regulations were enforced.
 
detailed listing of the changes to opioid medications only became available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) website on Tuesday 2 June.
 
Similarly, no public announcement of the changes was made until the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued a release on 2 June.

Subject

Opioid prescribing and dispensing restrictions

Period9 Jun 2020

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleGPs blindsided by major changes in opioid pack sizes
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletNews GP
    Media typeWeb
    CountryAustralia
    Date9/06/20
    DescriptionGPs, pharmacists and patients have been caught unawares after major changes to opioid pack sizes came into effect this week.

    The slashing of pack sizes for many potent opioids came into effect on Monday 1 June – but GPs say crucial detail on which medications are affected is missing.

    The communication issue led to some GPs being unable to prescribe the new, smaller pack sizes through their usual clinical software until an update was rolled out days after the new regulations were enforced.

    A detailed listing of the changes to opioid medications only became available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) website on Tuesday 2 June.

    Similarly, no public announcement of the changes was made until the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued a release on 2 June.

    Despite this week’s frustrations regarding communication, GPs have been broadly supportive of efforts to better control how opioids are prescribed, with the new pack size restrictions applied only to opioids for acute issues.

    Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care Professor Mark Morgan has welcomed the PBS changes.

    ‘GPs know they need to be cautious when prescribing opioids and to carefully monitor a patient’s use of these drugs,’ he said.

    ‘Opioids have important therapeutic uses but they can cause dependence, lead to risky use and cause harm.’
    Producer/AuthorDoug Hendrie
    PersonsMark Morgan