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Victoria to become the first state in Australia to implement SafeScript, a real-time prescription monitoring system in late 2018

Victoria to become the first state in Australia to implement SafeScript

The Victorian Government’s state-of-the-art real-time prescription monitoring system will roll-out across Victoria in 2018, as new laws passed the Victorian Parliament today.

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Real-time Prescription Monitoring) Bill 2017 establishes the real-time prescription monitoring system, to be known as SafeScript.

In a historic milestone, the new legislation will see Victoria become the first state in Australia to roll out a mandatory prescription monitoring system on this scale.

Last year, 372 Victorians died from an overdose of prescription medicines. More people in Victoria have lost their lives from the misuse of prescription medicines than the road toll for five years in a row.

SafeScript will provide doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists access to an up-to-the-minute database to review prescription histories of patients in their care and enable safer clinical decisions.

It will monitor all Schedule 8 medicines (controlled drugs) such as morphine and oxycodone – which carry the highest risk of misuse – and other high-risk medicines, including all benzodiazepines such as diazepam.

Once fully implemented, it will be mandatory for prescribers and pharmacists to check the system before writing or dispensing a prescription for a high-risk medicine, with some exceptions in certain circumstances.

The legislation also streamlines the existing Schedule 8 permit requirements to reduce duplication and regulatory burden for clinicians.

More support will also be offered to minimise any additional impact the system may have on clinicians and to ensure that SafeScript is embedded in existing clinical work.

The Victorian Government invested AU$29.5 million to implement real-time prescription monitoring in Victoria.

Over the next year, the Government will build software for the SafeScript system, undertake further public consultation and deliver training for health professionals. The system is expected to start rolling out from late 2018 in a phased approach across Victoria.

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