Pharmacist claiming of tramadol 50mg capsule prescriptions from 1 June 2020

Page last updated: 1 June 2020

Commencing 1 June 2020, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings for opioid medicines will change. Included in these changes, are specific amendments to the PBS item for tramadol 50mg capsules that will affect the way outstanding prescriptions for this product can now be claimed from 1 June.

What do these changes involve?

In response to concerns regarding the high number of deaths and hospitalisations due to prescription opioids, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended changes to PBS opioid listings to assist with the appropriate use of opioid medicines for the treatment of pain.

The changes include amendments to existing restriction requirements and arrangements for increased quantities and repeats. Specifically, tramadol 50mg capsules will continue to be available under PBS item code 8455B and the previous item code 8611F will no longer exist on the PBS or within pharmacy dispensing software.

What does this mean for pharmacists?

To allow a smooth transition to the new listing arrangements for opioids, specific claiming arrangements will need to apply to the outstanding prescriptions written under item code 8611F.

For prescriptions written for tramadol 50mg capsules prior to 1 June 2020 and claimed on or after 1 June, pharmacists will need to claim under item code 8455B. Where these prescriptions have 1 or 2 repeats, pharmacists will need to claim as an authority prescription for which they can enter the temporary authority prescription number ‘900’when dispensing tramadol 50mg capsules under item code 8455B. Pharmacists will need to acknowledge the mismatch warning code presented (W 150/151) and keep sufficient information relating to the claimed prescription.

Pharmacists are also encouraged to advise patients of the changes that have been made to relevant opioid PBS listings and encourage them to seek further information from their prescriber at their next visit.