The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is providing urgent advice to all those affected by floods and natural disasters.
Under continuous distribution arrangements, most essential medicines currently prescribed to people can be obtained without a prescription from any local pharmacy across the country in case of emergency.
PSA National Chairman, Assistant Professor Chris Freeman reminded the public that they can still access the drugs in this time of crisis.
“My thoughts and condolences are with all Australians who have lost loved ones or been affected by this tragic event, and would like to remind you that you can access your essential medicines at any local pharmacy.
“There are certain rules and limitations to these arrangements, but pharmacists know them and can explain your options to you.
“These options were not available the last time the floods happened and were only introduced at the end of 2019.
“One of the biggest public policy initiatives to come from the 2019/2020 bushfires and the pandemic has been the ability for Australians to access life-saving medicines from their pharmacist without a prescription under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in case of emergency.
“With the continuous distribution rules currently expiring on June 30, 2022, these floods are a timely reminder that we need to make them permanent.
Assistant Professor Freeman thanked the pharmacists for their work on behalf of Australians affected by the floods:
“Pharmacists have previously worked with emergency services to support those isolated and in need and have done an incredible job of ensuring the continuity of healthcare and drug supply in these affected areas of the east coast. . I thank you all for your efforts and implore you to stay safe,” he said.
PSA Queensland branch president Shane MacDonald offered advice to patients in Queensland.
“My thoughts are with all Queenslanders and their families who have lost their lives, property or been displaced by these floods.
“Queensland is no stranger to natural disasters and I am truly proud of the stories I hear of pharmacists going above and beyond for their communities.
“It’s important for people to know that in an emergency, any local pharmacist can guide you on the best way to access your medication. In many cases, it can be a matter of life or death.
“While the floodwaters will recede in the coming days, the effects of the flooding will be with us for some time, and your pharmacist can help ensure you have the medications you need.” said Mr. MacDonald.
PSA NSW branch chair Chelsea Felkai has urged NSW residents to stay safe.
“Parts of northern New South Wales are tragically affected by these floods and the lives of residents are turned upside down.
“Pharmacists across the state are coming together to support those who need it most, and we thank you for that.
“We want all Australians to know that to access essential medicines they can go to any pharmacist in an emergency, and we are here to do whatever we can to help.
“The special authority arrangements allow patients to continue taking their life-saving medicines in case they cannot access a GP. Continuity of these medications during this time is absolutely crucial.
“While many areas are not going through the worst, the health and well-being of all residents will be a priority as we recover from this. Please stay safe,” Ms Felkai said.
For emergency assistance in Queensland and NSW please contact the State Emergency Service on 132 500. In a life-threatening emergency please call 000 (triple zero).
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