Could your patients be 'stockpiling' medicines?

5 Dec 2013

The Department of Human Services (DHS) approached the AMA earlier this year seeking advice about how best to discourage patients from this behaviour.

PBS dispensing information suggests stockpiling behaviour happens towards the end of each calendar year. It is likely some patients are 'stockpiling' PBS medicines when they reach their annual PBS Safety Net threshold so that they reduce their prescription expenses in the following calendar year. As well as adding unnecessarily to PBS costs, stockpiling is a potential health risk to patients and their families.

DHS originally intended to write to the 'top 100' PBS prescribers about stockpiling, asking prescribers to examine whether they may be issuing prescription renewals before they are due.

As DHS did not have any information linking high PBS prescribers to patients who stockpile, the AMA advised that a letter from the Australian Government implying that the prescribers were at fault may not address the heart of the problem.

Working together, DHS and the AMA agreed the focus at this time should be on patient education. To that end, DHS has produced a fact sheet that medical practitioners can hand out to patients.

You can now access this patient fact sheet – printed on Australian Government letterhead – on the AMA’s website to support conversations you have with patients who may be stockpiling.