PBS News

Availability of Methoxyflurane for emergency treatment only

May 2010

A new Emergency Treatment Program (ETP) has been established with effect from 1 May 2010 to provide for medicines such as Methoxyflurane, to be listed as a special pharmaceutical product under section 100AA, for supply as a doctor’s bag item for emergency treatment, other than hospital treatment. Usually, for a medicine to be available for emergency supply as a doctor’s bag item it must also be declared as a pharmaceutical benefit and made available for emergency treatment under section 93 in Part VII of the National Health Act 1953.

Methoxyflurane, liquid for inhalation 999.9 mg per g, 3 mL (with inhaler) (Penthrox® ) is not available for prescribing as a general pharmaceutical benefit but is approved for emergency treatment, other than hospital treatment. Availability on prescription for supply in the usual way would be inappropriate as it would allow for the direct supply of Methoxyflurane to community-based patients and as such has the potential for use without supervision by personnel trained in its use, which would be contrary to the drug’s TGA-approved indication.

Methoxyflurane is therefore PBS-listed as a ‘special pharmaceutical product’ available only in accordance with special arrangements made under subsection 100 (1) of the National Health Act 1953. These new provisions will allow medical practitioners to obtain emergency treatment items from approved pharmacists and supply them directly to patients, in an emergency outside of a hospital setting, without prescription and without charge. The legislative instrument can be viewed on the Federal Register of Legislative instruments at www.frli.gov.au.

For the purposes of administration, Methoxyflurane will be listed with other emergency treatment drugs in the Doctor’s Bag list and managed by Medicare Australia in the same manner as other doctor’s bag items with the same supply and claiming procedures.