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Image Based Prescription Special Arrangement

Page last updated: 5 October 2021

The Special Arrangement for image-based prescribing, implemented at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, will cease on 31 December 2021. Electronic prescribing is now widely available in Australia and provides an option for supporting telehealth consultations and enabling supply of medicines. Other prescribing options, such as emergency supply arrangements which existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic also remain available. More information about electronic prescribing can be found here.

The Special Arrangement commenced 26 March 2020. The cease date for the Special Arrangement was extended from 31 March 2021 to 30 September 2021. Due to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in some parts of Australia, the cease date has been extended one final time to 31 December 2021. Further information for prescribersdispensers is available.

State and Territory legislation will continue to apply. Further information can be found on the Health website. Medicines in Schedule 8 and Schedule 4 Appendix D in the Poisons Standard will continue to be excluded from this interim arrangement, unless specifically permitted by relevant state or territory rules.

The extension to the Special Arrangement continues to temporarily allow the supply of a pharmaceutical benefit without acknowledgement from the patient wherever it is impractical for them to sign the prescription (e.g. where the patient is concerned about transmission of COVID-19 by using the pharmacy pen). Pharmacists are still expected to require patients, or their agents, to acknowledge receipt of the pharmaceutical benefit where it is practical to do so; however, pharmacists are not required to sign on the patient’s behalf where it is not practical for the patient or the patient’s agent to sign (e.g. the pharmacist suppling medicine from an image based prescription).

For further information please visit the Department’s website or email eprescribing@health.gov.au