HUNTER pharmacists have welcomed new restrictions to ensure people can access the medications they need as people attempt to stockpile children's paracetamol and Ventolin.
Deputy chief medical officer, Professor Paul Kelly, announced new measures on Thursday to limit medication sales in light of people "panic buying" Ventolin and Panadol.
"There have been some reports of people buying large quantities of these medications over the past few days, and I recognise that people are fearful about issues - and particularly those that might affect their own families," Professor Kelly said.
"But please do not buy more than you need.
"Please do not buy more than you need of anything - whether that is food, and particularly medicines."
Professor Kelly said Australia has a "very good system" of knowing about medicine shortages.
"It is incumbent on all medicine suppliers that they tell us if there is a shortage now or into the future. And we have not had that from any of the suppliers," he said.
"Local supply issues have been happening in pharmacies, and for that reason we have been working very closely with the Pharmacy Guild and the PSA to ensure that matter is dealt with.
"We have today worked through, with pharmacists, that they will be required to limit dispensing of certain prescription products to one month's supply at the prescribed dose.
"And sales of certain over-the-counter medicines like Ventolin or salbutamol puffers and paracetamol to a maximum of one unit per purchase.
"In addition, pharmacists will be strongly encouraged to limit dispensing and sales of all other medicines to one month's supply or unit.
"They will be required to put children's paracetamol formulations behind the counter to assist in allocating supply equitably."
Luke Kelly, the president of the Newcastle and Hunter Valley Pharmacists Association (NHVPA), said they welcomed the news.
"The only reason we would have a shortage is because of fear and panic buying," he said.
"Pharmacists are doing their best. They are spending more time calming people down than they are doing their jobs at the minute.
"We have been spending a lot of time counselling and calming people.
"The Pharmacy Guild is saying there are no shortage of medications that are down to COVID-19. Apart from this fear-induced thing of these two items.
"People should be assured that even if their particular medication has run out locally, there is almost always a suitable alternative."
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