New AMA Standards rule out Pharmacist Prescribing

The AMA has released its new 10 Minimum Standards for Prescribing to ensure patient safety and high-quality health care. The Standards – developed by the AMA Council of General Practice (AMACGP) and approved by the AMA Federal Council – are consistent with medical ethics and frameworks for the quality use of medicines.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said that the AMA’s new Prescribing Standards are all about putting the interests of patients first, and providing governments with strong evidence to reject attempts by unauthorised or inappropriately skilled practitioners who may seek prescribing rights outside of their scope of practice.

“Currently, a range of health professionals can prescribe S4 and S8 medications. The primary prescribers are doctors, but dentists, optometrists, midwives, and nurse practitioners also have authorised prescribing rights within regulated limitations and in very specific circumstances,” Dr Bartone said.

“There is a push from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia for pharmacists to have prescribing rights, but the AMA totally rejects this proposal. It is inappropriate, and unsafe for patients. Instead, the AMA wants to see pharmacists working in general practices within the scope of their practice.

“The AMA has long held that separation of prescribing and dispensing is an important safety measure. It also contributes to the trust relationship between the doctor and the patient.”

Dr Bartone said the AMA Prescribing Standards will provide guidance to all prescribers in understanding their role within a patient’s GP-led multidisciplinary health team.

“Doctors are the only health professionals trained to fully assess a person, initiate further investigations, make a diagnosis, and understand the full range of clinically appropriate treatments for a given condition, including when to prescribe and, importantly, when not to prescribe medicines,” Dr Bartone said.

“The AMA urges all governments to ensure that patient care is not fragmented, misdirected, or delayed by prescribing models that do not align with the AMA’s Standards.”

The standards are informed by the AMA Code of Ethics, the AMA Guidelines for Doctors on Managing Conflicts of Interest in Medicine, the AMA Position Statement on Medicines, and the National Prescribing Service (NPS) Competencies Required to Prescribe Medicines: Putting quality use of medicines into practice.

The AMA 10 Minimum Standards for Prescribing are available here.

Read the full media release at

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