Pill and UTI medications to be available over the counter

By Juliano Oliveira

The Queensland Government wants the pharmacies to start selling oral contraceptive pill and UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) medications over the counter.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk works now to have the blessing of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“We’re asking the Federal Government to down-schedule the pill so that in the future, pharmacists can supply the pill more regularly, where it is safe to do so,” the Premier said.

“These changes are about improving reproductive healthcare for women in Queensland and in particular, regional Queensland where sometimes it’s easier to access a pharmacy than a doctor.”

It is also part of the government’s plan to facilitate medicines supply if their prescription had expired. In practice, it means that when a woman can’t get her usual repeat pill prescription, pharmacists will be allowed to provide one full pack of her usual pill.

GP waiting rooms will not be occupied only with patients expecting to have a script and still have to pay for it.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said current provisions only included oral contraception listed on the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme).

“Currently only some types or brands of the pill can be dispensed by a pharmacist when a script has expired, excluding around half of Queensland women who take the pill regularly,” Mr Miles said.

“A pharmacist will be able to supply a full standard pack, which usually lasts between one and four months depending on the product, once within a 12-month period.”

The proposed changes are expected to be in effect by late 2020. Regarding the access improvement to medicines management of urinary tract infections, the state-wide trial is expected to commence by mid-2020.