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Medicines Amendment Bill passes final reading

Associate health minister Todd McClayFriday 22 November 2013, 4:08PM

Media release from associate health minister Todd McClay

Associate Minister of Health Todd McClay welcomed the passing of the Medicines Amendment Bill 2011. The Bill streamlines the current Medicines Act 1981 and is an interim measure until such time as the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill is passed.

"This government is dedicated to improving and enhancing access to health services and removing unnecessary red tape while ensuring patient safety, and this new law works to that end," says Mr McClay.

The new law modernises the definitions ofmedicine,medical device, andtherapeutic purposeby;

  • amending the medicines approval process to make the legislation less prescriptive and instead uses regulations to specify detail;
  • amending the prescribing framework to name nurse practitioners and optometrists as authorised prescribers. This will align their prescribing rights with those of medical practitioners, dentists and midwives by enabling them to prescribe all medicines appropriate to their scope of practice.
  • adding a new prescribing category of "delegated prescriber" who will be allowed to prescribe under a 'delegated prescribing order' issued by an authorised prescriber.  

"The definitions in the law will be reviewed and updated again as part of the establishment of the Australia and New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency. The default commencement date for the definition, prescribing and other minor/technical provisions is 1 July 2014. The default commencement date for the medicines approvals provisions is set as 1 July 2017.

"This anticipates that the medicines approval process provisions in the law are likely to be superseded by the establishment of ANZTPA, but provides a backstop should the implementation of ANZTPA be delayed," says Mr McClay.

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