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In Practice: Changes to opioid dispensing sizes


Morgan Liotta


4/08/2022 4:06:20 PM

From 1 August, changes to PBS listings for certain opioid analgesics allow dispensing of smaller volumes at PBS-subsidised prices.

Pharmacy shelves
GPs should be aware of recent changes to PBS dispensing rules for certain opioids.

This week’s round-up also includes MBS Advisory updates to general practice services, including billing, and the latest developments on the transition to college-led training.
 
Changes to the PBS listing of hydromorphone oral solution
On the 1 August 2022, the Department of Health and Aged Care implemented changes to the listing of analgesic oral solution containing hydromorphone hydrochloride 1 mg per mL, 473 mL (hydromorphone oral solution) on the PBS, to allow pharmacists to dispense volumes smaller than a whole bottle at PBS-subsidised prices.
 
The changes are being implemented following consultation with key stakeholders representing prescribers, pharmacists, pharmacy dispensing software, electronic Schedule 8 drug registers and state and territory health authorities.
 
The changes will apply to the two brands of hydromorphone oral solution currently subsidised by the PBS – Hikma and Hydromorphone hydrochloride oral solution, USP (Medsurge) under item codes 12582F, 12559B and 12565H.
 
Further information is available on the PBS website.
 
New AskMBS Advisory: General practice services
The Department of Health and Aged Care has published a new AskMBS Advisory on general practice services. This document provides responses to a range of questions on topics such as telehealth, chronic disease management, co-claiming, and standard attendances.
 
The Advisory was developed in response to a webinar held by the RACGP for GPs in training – ‘Understanding Medicare compliance’ – on 24 November 2021.
 
Attendees asked several follow-up questions in relation to the webinar, generally seeking clarification on the correct billing procedures for specific MBS items. This new Advisory provides responses to these questions.
 
GPs are reminded that questions about MBS item interpretation are best directed to askmbs@health.gov.au. Further AskMBS Advisories are available from the Department’s website.
 
College-led training: Practice agreements finalised   
In the lead-up to the launch of college-led training, the RACGP has finalised new registrar placements and practice agreements to guide general practice training in 2023 and beyond.  
 
The college will honour all training sites and supervisors’ accreditation expiry dates as it transitions to college-led training in 2023. Accreditations will not expire in the first half of next year and new agreements will be issued in line with re-accreditation dates as they fall due.   
 
The new training sites and supervisor agreements acknowledge compliance with key documents, including the RACGP Standards for general practice training and the codes and principles for training sites and supervisors. 
 
While registrars will be placed by RTOs through their usual matching processes for Semester 1 2023, the RACGP will be issuing placement contracts at the end of 2022, which will cover the specific requirements relating to the registrar placed at the training site.
 
More information about registrar placements and practice agreements is available on the RACGP factsheet.
 
Updates on screening programs for women
Webinar: Tuesday 23 August, 7.00 – 8.00 pm (AEST)
 
For GPs interested in women’s health and screening programs in Australia, the second webinar in the Women’s Health Week series will discuss updates to these areas.
 
The session will also cover the impact of COVID-19 on women’s health, and the challenge of getting screening rates back on track.
 
Professor Marion Saville from the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer will be presenting on cervical screening tests, including self-collection, and further changes to screening programs.
 
Register online.
 
Listening to the heart: Key updates on functions of the pump and valves 
Webinar: Wednesday 17 August, 7.00 – 8.00 pm (AEST)
Eligible for 2 RACGP CPD points

Presented by RACGP Specific Interests, this webinar provides key updates regarding heart valvular disease and diabetes medications.

Dr Gary Deed, Chair of Specific Interests Diabetes and Dr Atef Asham, Chair of Specific Interests Cardiology, and guests will facilitate a review of management guidelines on heart valvular disease and type 2 diabetes.
 
Register online.
 
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