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Restrictions changed for opioids on the PBS

May 27, 2020

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings for opioid medicines will change next month ( 1 June 2020). The changes include amendments to existing restriction requirements and arrangements for increased quantities and repeats. In addition, there are new Restricted Benefit listings for smaller maximum quantities of immediate release opioids, with no increased quantities or repeats, for patients requiring short-term relief of acute severe pain.

Summary of key changes include:

  • A significant number of PBS codes previously classified as ‘restricted’ will now be ‘streamlined authority’
  • Similarly, some codes previously unrestricted will be ‘restricted benefits’
  • Notes appended to PBS listings are more extensive in their advice to prescribers
  • Fentanyl patches are not recommended for ‘as required’ acute pain relief.
  • New codes are available to prescribe ‘half-packs’ of immediate release forms of codeine, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone, paracetamol/codeine and tramadol, as part of a strategy to reduce opiates remaining in the community after prescribing for short term acute pain (e.g. post-surgery)
  • Smaller packs are not yet available. Government has allocated resources to cover cost of ‘broken-bulk’ dispensing until smaller packs are available.

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affecting Health Care practitioners in the Darling Downs and West Moreton Regions: