Avant position paper calls for monitoring drugs of dependence

Avant released a position paper on prescribing drugs of dependence in October, advocating on behalf of their members, to implement reforms and improve the ways drugs of dependence are being prescribed, monitored and regulated.

The position paper was written by Dr Walid Jammal (GP and Avant Senior Medical Advisor – Advocacy) in collaboration with the Avant Advocacy team. The paper highlights that there are numerous issues associated the prescription of drugs of dependence such as inconsistent regulations, inadequate IT systems and lack of knowledge amongst medical practitioners.

The paper states,

“Avant is concerned at the emerging evidence of a corresponding increase in opioid related harm, including hospitalisations and deaths where they were a contributing factor.”

Prior to 2001, heroin was responsible for more than two-thirds of opioid-related hospitalisations. From 2005-2006 however, when other opioids, including morphine, oxycodone and codeine became twice as likely as heroin to be reported as a principal diagnosis. Avant continues to call for further education and guidelines for doctors on their regulatory obligations pertaining to drugs of dependence.

Drugs of dependence represent a huge problem in Australia.

Avant’s position paper has called for better education and real time prescription monitoring in response to the drugs of dependence issue.

The paper outlines that between 2009 and 2014, Avant assisted members with more than 230 claims that relate to drugs of dependence. The data provided shows that these claims were associated with

  • alleged inappropriate prescription of drugs of dependence
  • alleged prescribing without the correct authority
  • refusals or cessation of prescribing
  • requests for information from bodies such as coroners.

More importantly Avant has called for the implementation of a national real time prescription monitoring system, to support doctors at the point of prescribing. The paper states,

“Avant believes that a national real-time prescription monitoring system will enable practitioners to have the benefit of the complete clinical picture when prescribing drugs of dependence. This system will go towards supporting the safety of patients and minimising the risk of doctor shopping for the purpose of drug diversion or on-selling.”

This is aligned with what State Coroners have been calling for over the last decade and with the message that MediSecure has long been trying to promote. In November last year we launched Australia’s first Real Time Prescription Monitoring tool, DrShop. This tool will enable prescribing doctors to monitor Schedule 8 and Schedule 4 medicines of addiction within their clinical workflow.

DrShop is available at no additional cost to prescribers that use the MediSecure prescription exchange service and use a clinical system that is integrated with the tool.

To find out more about DrShop, please watch this short video about how this revolutionary tool works here.

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