COVID-19 Response

The current COVID-19 pandemic is creating new challenges for healthcare. The pharmacotherapy treatment system has been identified as a priority area. The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Pharmacotherapy Area-Based Networks are providing advice on a range of strategies to ensure continuity of treatment for pharmacotherapy patients and associated supports for prescribers and dispensers.

These strategies include:

  • Lowering the threshold for takeaway doses with reasonable management of risk and benefit
  • Increasing the duration of prescriptions
  • Collection of takeaways and/or stewardship by a responsible third party
  • Roster of pharmacies and prescribers in local areas who are willing and able to deputise services
  • Expanding access to long acting injectable buprenorphine as an alternative to daily Suboxone
  • Prescriber and pharmacy service continuity and contingency planning

This is a rapidly evolving situation and this page will be regularly updated.

You local pharmacotherapy network managers are available to assist you. If you have any queries regarding these, or any other pharmacotherapy matter please feel free to contact your local network manager via the details found on our ‘About’ page.

Links

Victorian Government general COVID-19 advice
DHHS pharmacotherapy guidelines (includes long acting injectable buprenorphine guide)

DHHS Pharmacotherapy COVID-19 response

Information for prescribers and pharmacists
Takeaway dose guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic
Third party collection arrangements

PABN guides

Read these guides in conjunction with DHHS official advice.
Prescriber contingency planning guide – physical distancing or illness
Pharmacy service continuity checklist

More COVID-19 resources

RACGP Victoria COVID-19 updates
Includes some excellent MATOD-specific advice
Turning Point COVID-19 resources
Clinician and patient guides: Telehealth, withdrawal support, harm reduction and self-care.
Interim guidance for the delivery of medication assisted treatment of opioid dependence in response to COVID-19: a national response