19 March 2020 – latest update

Pharmacists will be required to limit dispensing of certain prescription products to 1 months’ supply at the prescribed dose, and sales of certain over-the-counter medicines to a maximum of one unit per purchase.

Limits on dispensing have now been put in place, read details here.

Emerging issues for people with asthma: accessing medication

18 March 2020 – previous update

Asthma Australia is aware there are some temporary shortages of Salbutamol (SABA) in some local pharmacies due to higher than expected consumer demand. Advice received by the TGA is that there is plenty of medication in Australia and stock is being replenished in affected pharmacies.

We strongly urge people to be considerate of their purchasing so that everyone can access what they need. Stockpiling medications is resulting in challenges for people to access vital medication and is not recommended.

People with asthma are advised to have access to at least 30 days of prescription medications. A blue or grey asthma reliever (SABA) puffer contains 200 metered doses and should last at least 60 days, and most preventers are designed to last at least one month. Asthma Australia encourages people to use a spacer with metered-dose (canister) inhalers including SABA to draw maximum benefit from their medication to reduce the amount required.

There has been some information discouraging people from using corticosteroids. Please be advised this does not apply to inhaled corticosteroids. People with asthma should continue to use their preventer inhalers regularly to maintain good control and avoid any flare-ups.

Asthma Australia is closely monitoring this situation and we will be providing updates and advice as received by the TGA and our Partners.

To help us monitor the situation, if you are unable to purchase asthma reliever medication at your local pharmacy, please advise Asthma Australia via this form or call 1800 ASTHMA.