Medicine substitution now available to combat shortages

The Australian Government is implementing changes to allow community pharmacists to dispense a specified Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listed substitute item without a new prescription from the prescriber in circumstances where the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has issued a Serious Scarcity Substitution Instrument (SSSI) in respect of that medicine. The changes will apply to certain PBS medicines, as determined from time to time by the Minister for Health.

The approved pharmacist must inform (in writing) the PBS prescriber who wrote the prescription for the prescribed benefit that supply of the substitute benefit has been made, within 72 hours after the supply.

Find out more about the permitted circumstances and list substituted medicines that are eligible for dispensing under the PBS on the PBS website.

The TGA also has a medicine shortage database that includes both current and anticipated shortages.