Managing high-risk S8, S4B and S4D medicines

Managing S8 S4B and S4D medicines website image

PDL NSW members were recently sent a Forum communique on 13 October 2022 regarding the joint initiative between the Pharmacy Council of NSW, NSW Health and the pharmacy organisations representing most NSW pharmacists.

As mentioned in the communique, the purpose of the Forum is to:

  • monitor regulatory issues that impact on the governance and performance of NSW pharmacists and owners of NSW pharmacies;
  • identify key communication messages for pharmacists related to obligations and responsibilities of pharmacists in respect of the law, policies, guidelines and standards;
  • develop an integrated approach to communicating with pharmacists;
  • encourage a collaborative approach to the promotion of clinical governance and legislative compliance amongst pharmacists.

Forum representatives have been tasked with developing several resources to support NSW pharmacists. The resources are intended to increase awareness of these areas at risk of investigation or penalty within the profession and to offer suggestions to mitigate the risk to patients, pharmacists, prescribers and the public. The resources are intended to be used as tools for pharmacists in conjunction with a pharmacist’s overall knowledge and autonomous practice.

The following documents offer guidance for the management of high-risk S8, S4B and S4D medicines with a particular focus on Monitored Medicines:

It is hoped that pharmacists and pharmacy owners will utilise the flow chart to guide the assessment and dispensing of prescriptions for these medicines. It is suggested the flow chart be located within the dispensary, preferably near the prescription preparation area.

The supporting resource provides useful background information, linked resources for risk mitigation actions and suggestions for pharmacists and pharmacy management. Many of the websites listed in the supporting document are useful for assessing the validity and safety of prescriptions and it’s suggested the websites be saved on the dispensing terminals for easy access.

Other resources for pharmacists include the PSA’s ‘Dispensing Practice Guidelines’ and the SHPA’s ‘Standard of practice in dispensing and distribution for pharmacy services’.

If you have questions regarding this material or the management of these medicines, please contact the PDL Professional Officers.

For immediate advice and incident support, call PDL on 1300 854 838 to speak with one of our Professional Officers. We are here to support our pharmacist members 24/7, Australia-wide.