Pharmacy considerations in the context of COVID-19

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 prescription and consideration of staged supply in appropriate situations
  • 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
  • From 1 April 2020 it is mandatory to check SafeScript prior to writing or dispensing a prescription for a medicines monitored through the system as per the Department of Health.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and the PABN COVID-19 response page will be regularly updated.

Your local Pharmacotherapy Area-Based Network is able to assist you to identify pharmacy(ies) who may be able to take on your patients in the event of an immediate closure.

Pharmacotherapy Area-Based Network contact details

Barwon South West

Grampians Loddon Mallee



Southern and Eastern Melbourne (Area 4)




North West Melbourne

Medically Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD)

Below is advice and clinical guidance related to working in the Medically Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advice moderates existing MATOD policy for prescribers and dispensers in relation to: