New digital tool to crack down on ‘doctor shopping’ for drugs

  • ‘Doctor shopping’ a growing problem across Australia, driven by addiction and abuse of controlled medicines
  • ScriptCheckWA platform set to be a ‘gamechanger’ for doctors and pharmacists

A new electronic system to monitor controlled drugs will help doctors and pharmacists to combat ‘doctor shopping’ for scripts in Western Australia.

The ScriptCheckWA system will launch on 28 March 2023.

For the first two months of 2023, the system underwent testing with a select group of WA doctors.

ScriptCheckWA is now ready for release to all general practitioners and community pharmacies throughout WA.

It gives approved users access to data on controlled drugs 24/7 and facilitates seamless communication between doctors and pharmacies, and between different doctors.

Drugs reported in ScriptCheckWA include controlled drugs such as:

  • opioids (morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone) for treatment of severe pain
  • stimulants (dexamfetamine) for treatment of ADHD
  • cannabis based products (such as for symptoms of pain, terminal illness and movement disorders)
  • other miscellaneous controlled drugs (for pain and anxiety).

The Department of Health will closely monitor the outcomes of ScriptCheckWA.

Consideration will be given to adding other problematic prescription medicines to the system in the future.

As stated by Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:

“Early users of the system say it has vastly improved the way they can support their patients and manage any risks in relation to these medications.

“The platform allows doctors and pharmacists to instantly detect doctor shopping – meaning they can intervene where people are accessing excessive amounts of these medicines.

“The strength of the new ScriptCheckWA system is that it now gives health practitioners instant, secure access to this data, as it occurs.

“Better access to this data will support rapid identification of people with a drug problem and assist with their timely referral into an appropriate drug treatment program.”

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