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Move to cut PBS red tape

Changes to prescribing rules for drugs listed on PBS have been announced.

The federal government has announced changes to prescribing rules for drugs listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in a move aimed at cutting red tape for doctors.

Under the changes, the criteria for streamlining authority-required medicines will be expanded to include medicines used to treat short-term conditions, where patient safety will not be put at risk.

The changes mean doctors and other prescribers will no longer have to obtain telephone or written approval from Medicare Australia before prescribing particular PBS medicines.

There are already about 110 drugs on the streamlined medicines list with another 50 expected to be added based on advice from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).

In addition, from 1 December, 2011, Medicare Australia will capture further data that will allow better monitoring of the usage of streamlined authority medicines.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the changes would allow doctors to spend more time caring for patients, and less time on the phone to Medicare and filling out paperwork.


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