Prescribing less than the PBS maximum quantity
- Max Kamien
- Aust Prescr 1995;18:41
- 1 April 1995
- DOI: 10.18773/austprescr.1995.048
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Sir, In the last month I have prescribed 56 tablets of bismuth subcitrate as part of the eradication of H. pylori , 5 oxazepam tablets for a patient distressed after an unexpected bereavement and acyclovir 200 mg x 50 for initial genital herpes. On each occasion, I have been phoned by a different pharmacist asking if I could prescribe the maximum quantity authorised in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits. In the case of the first two drugs, the reason given was that to cut packs into portions would mean that the extra portions would simply linger on the pharmacist's shelves without any hope of being sold. In the last case, the pharmacist only had packs of 90 tablets. Prescribing more than required is costly and potentially dangerous for the patient. Is there any way in which a doctor's considered prescription can be translated into action without financial loss to the pharmacist?
Professor of General Practice
University of Western Australia
There is no compulsion under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to prescribe the maximum quantity of a drug as a pharmaceutical benefit if the medical practitioner considers a lesser quantity is sufficient for the patient's requirements (unless the maximum quantity is marked with a double dagger in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits). In fact, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee would prefer practitioners to prescribe the quantity that is needed rather than the maximum allowable quantity.
Professor of General Practice, University of Western Australia, Perth, W.A.