In this report we analysed the options to expand the list of prescription medicines that are monitored by Victoria’s RTPM system, SafeScript.
SafeScript is the Victorian Government’s RTPM system, which was introduced state-wide in April 2019 and became mandatory to use in April 2020. SafeScript enables prescribing registered medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and dispensing pharmacists to access accurate and up-to-date information regarding a patient’s medication history with respect to specific high-risk medicines in real time. The information helps clinicians make safer clinical decisions and reduces the incidence of harm, including death, from the use of these medicines. It is intended to reduce inappropriate multiple prescribing events (particularly by multiple providers), provide clinical alerts about opioid doses and prescribing of high-risk combination of medicines, and improve quality of care by facilitating a patient-centred approach in addressing prescription medication misuse.
“The information helps clinicians make safer clinical decisions and reduces the incidence of harm, including death, from the use of these medicines.”
Our Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) report for the Victorian Department of Health investigated the impact of adding pregabalin, gabapentin and tramadol to SafeScript. It outlined the nature of the problem with these medicines, explored different options regarding which medicines (if any) should be added, quantified key costs and benefits of the options, and examined small business and competition impacts.
A cost benefit analysis measured the benefits of avoided fatalities, avoided emergency department presentations and reduced hospitalisations. These benefits were assessed against:
- additional compliance costs for prescribers and pharmacists
- extra time for patients to obtain prescriptions and additional treatment costs.
The analysis estimated adding pregabalin and gabapentin to SafeScript could deliver around $37 million in net benefits to Victoria while adding all three medicines could deliver up to $100 million in net benefits over 10 years.
The Department of Health subsequently amended the Regulations to include pregabalin, gabapentin and tramadol in the medicines monitored in SafeScript from July 2023.
Our team included
- Sally Carrick
- Michelle Hall