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Obtaining_info Dr Shoppers

Obtaining_info Dr Shoppers

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Published by: syclik on Apr 23, 2011
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This summary is prepared by the Drugs and Poisons Regulation Group (DPRG) to assist medical practitioners who wish to seek information and/or advice about suspected drug-seeking patients. The summary has been prepared following consultation with officers from Medicare Australia (formerly HIC).

At Any Time
Medicare Australia now operates the Prescription Shopping Information Service, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. However, to obtain information from the service, a medical practitioner must first obtain an individual Access Number, by forwarding the appropriate Registration Form to Medicare Australia (see bottom of page 2 for website) Phone the information service 1800 631 181 (free call). Quote your full name, date of birth and Access Number. Supply the patient’s full name, Medicare number and date of birth. Medicare Australia will be able to inform you whether the patient has been identified under the criteria* of the Prescription Shopping Project / Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
*The criteria relate to a person having obtained more than a specified number of PBS items and/or having obtained PBS items from six or more prescribers (excluding specialists) in a 3-month period.

Note: Some drug-dependent (or other drug-seeking) persons may not be identified because the Medicare Australia information service: Relates only to PBS items - not including (many) less-expensive medications for which there is no co-payment unless patients hold entitlement cards. Does not relate to “private” prescriptions, for which there is no co-payment. Does not include PBS items that have been supplied but have yet to be claimed by the pharmacist and/or processed by Medicare Australia. Does not relate to the provision of methadone or buprenorphine to opiate-dependent patients.

What Next?
Where there is reason to believe a person is a drug-dependent person, a medical practitioner must notify the Department of Human Service (DHS) Drugs and Poisons Regulation Group (DPRG) in the prescribed form. This is essential because legislation that governs the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme strictly limits the information that can be released and DHS does not have access to PBS information. Note: Notification of a drug-dependent person is a lawful requirement, which provides important information for the DPRG. This data enables DPRG Officers to assist prescribers who might seek advice or apply for a permit to treat a person. Copies of the Notification Form (DP1) can be obtained from the DPRG website www.health.vic.gov.au/dpu

Department of Human Services – Prepared May 2006

More Information?
If a patient is willing to sign a Voluntary Information Release Form, a prescriber will be able to obtain some retrospective, quantitative information from Medicare Australia. This course of action is strongly recommended (by DPRG) if a prescriber proposes to continue treating a person who has been identified by the Prescription Shopping Information Service. Medical practitioners should remember that they can also telephone the DPRG Help Line on 1300 364 545 (select option 2), between 9.00 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday, to discuss their concerns or to seek information about specific patients. The DPRG holds contact details of prescribers who hold permits to treat patients with Schedule 8 poisons, including patients receiving methadone or buprenorphine to treat opiate-dependence. The DPRG also has information of many aliases that have reportedly been used by drug-seeking patients and details of forged prescription reports. Information held by the DPRG is not limited to drugs that are PBS items.
Note: The collection, storage and disclosure of information by the DPRG are governed by legislation including the Health Records Act, 2001. Information held by the DPRG about any patient will only be released to a prescriber who possesses a legitimate need to access that information in the treatment of their patient.

To Prescribe (or not)?
Only the medical practitioner can decide whether (or not) to prescribe a drug of dependence for a person; DPRG and Medicare Australia can only provide information or advice that might assist the medical practitioner in reaching a decision. Having sought information and/or advice from DPRG, the medical practitioner is encouraged to consider the following points: A patient with a valid therapeutic need for drugs of dependence should have a principal medical practitioner managing or attempting to manage the patient’s medication regime. Concurrent prescribing by other medical practitioners may be detrimental to the patient. The problem of drug-dependence is not restricted to illicit drug users. The fact that a person has a demonstrable therapeutic need for a drug of dependence does not preclude the possibility that the person is drug-dependent. Drug-seeking activities are not limited to drug-dependent persons; some people have been found to be involved in extensive drug-seeking activities to obtain drugs for subsequent resale. Stimulants, anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines, narcotic analgesics and many other drugs are often sought for unlawful diversion. The success of “drug-seeking” activity is often facilitated by the fact that many GP’s prescribe the maximum PBS quantity when consulted by patients who claim that their “regular prescriber” is not available and present themselves at a time when it is difficult to contact the regular prescriber or the DPRG. Please be aware that you are NOT obliged to prescribe the maximum PBS quantity and that doing so may be detrimental – especially when the patient’s principal prescriber is unaware of the additional medication.

Key Contact Details
• The Prescription Shopping Information Service Registration Form (to obtain an Access Number) and the Voluntary Agreement for PBS Information Form may be located, at the Medicare Australia website (www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/providers) in the section for Programs & Services, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. To obtain clinical advice from specialist consultants, Health Professionals (only) may phone the Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) on 9416 3611 (metro) 1800 812 804 (rural) For 24-hour confidential drug and alcohol counselling and treatment information, patients, family or health professionals may phone Direct Line - 1800 888 236

• •

Summaries of Victorian legislative requirements for medical practitioners plus notification forms and permit application forms are available at www.health.vic.gov.au/dpu

For further information
Department of Human Services (DHS) Drugs and Poisons Regulation Group, GPO Box 4057, Melbourne 3001 Tel: 1300 364 545 Fax: 1300 360 830 Web: www.health.vic.gov.au/dpu

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