COVID-19 Medicines and Pharmacy Update March 26, 2020

Ethan FrenchCOVID-19 Medicines updates, COVID-19 News, Medicines

New legal changes to support ongoing availability of salbutamol and hydroxychloroquine

The Australian Government Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have just released the information relating to new legal changes to stop inappropriate prescribing and supply of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and salbutamol inhalers (including Ventolin, Asmol) and preserve Australia’s stocks for those who need these essential medicines. 

See the link to this information here:

https://www.tga.gov.au/scheduling-decision-final/notice-amendment-current-poisons-standard-under-paragraph-52d2a-therapeutic-goods-act-1989

They say regarding hydroxychloroquine: “In Australia and internationally individuals are seeking this medication from their health practitioners as a COVID-19 treatment/prophylaxis, creating demand shortages. This poses a serious health risk to individuals currently using this medication. I am of the view that an urgent control through the Poisons Standard was needed to regulate inappropriate use and minimise further risks caused by a medicines shortage whilst still allowing on-going use by patients already prescribed it.”

In regard to salbutamol inhalers: “if the current levels of community demand for salbutamol continue, in particular for the intent of stockpiling, this will result in significant adverse health impacts due to the unavailability of this medicine or an interruption to treatment for patients with chronic conditions such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) . I find urgent control through the Poisons Standard is necessary to regulate inappropriate supply of salbutamol and to ensure access for patients with medically diagnosed clinical need.”