AMA releases future of dispensing discussion paper

4 Nov 2021

The AMA this week released The future of dispensing, a discussion paper on Australians having affordable and accessible medicines into the future, exploring alternative dispensing models for medications.

AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid explained that the discussion paper aims to consider how, where and why medicines are dispensed in Australia and to promote discussion among health professionals, doctors and consumers.

“The AMA earlier this year launched its Vision for Australia’s Health, which outlines a blueprint for the future of the Australian healthcare system that is based on the core principles of access, sustainability and patient empowerment that is led by medical practitioners,” he said.

“To that end, a good starting point is to consider three simple questions: how, where and why do we dispense medicines in Australia?”

Dr Khorshid said the discussion paper did not formally endorse a particular model of care, however, as an immediate step the AMA called on the Government to allow pharmacies to dispense up to three months of medicines for patient convenience if a doctor deemed it was safe.

The discussion paper also puts forward other AMA policy positions, including:

  • Pharmacy ownership and location rules should be relaxed, given the anti-competitive nature of the pharmacy sector, and allowing non-pharmacists to own pharmacies.
  • The distinction between prescribing and dispensing must be maintained, and commercial interests must be separated from professional decision making and values.
  • Pharmacy ownership rules should be reformed to facilitate co-location of pharmacies and medical practices.

Dr Khorshid said that during the COVID-19 pandemic doctors and pharmacists had rapidly adopted e-prescribing.

Dr Khorshid said there was scope to consider the use of enabling technology, such as online pharmacies, to improve patient access while retaining the separation between prescribing and dispensing.

The full media release is available here: