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Schedule 8 drug reporting

The frequency of S8 controlled drugs reporting increased from monthly to weekly, on 1 October 2017.

The S8 controlled drug submission day is every Monday to ensure consistency across the state, and to ensure the quality of the data that is captured upon receipt. The weekly reporting of S8 controlled drugs is required under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (PDF, 1MB).

The reporting should include the dispensing from open of business Sunday until after close of business Saturday. Pharmacists are required to send the completed weekly report before the close of business every Monday for the week prior.

Transition from monthly to weekly reporting of S8 drugs

What is changing for the reporting of S8 drugs (Schedule 8)?

Pharmacies have previously uploaded S8 drug data on a monthly basis and will now be required to upload the data weekly.

An electronic report of a pharmacy’s dispensed S8 drugs for the week that is uploaded to a centralised database and monitored by the Department of Health. The information is available to doctors during a consultation.

Weekly reporting of S8 controlled drugs is required under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (PDF, 1MB) from 1 October 2017.

When will weekly reporting commence?

We are introducing a new S8 Submission Day each Monday from 1 October to ensure consistency across the state, and to ensure the quality of the data is captured upon receipt.

The reporting week will begin every Sunday and end after close of business every Saturday.

When do I send the weekly report?

We ask that pharmacists send the report for the completed week every Monday, reporting on the S8 drugs that were dispensed the week prior.

For example, the first week will include the period Sunday 1 October 2017 to Saturday 7 October 2017 inclusive. The first weekly report is due to be uploaded on Monday 9 October 2017.

Why is the frequency changing?

Increasing the frequency of S8 controlled drug prescription dispensing reports to weekly rather than monthly will make a difference in assisting the treatment of vulnerable members of our community.

It is required under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (PDF, 1MB) from 1 October 2017.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Ensure your software is up-to-date to support weekly reporting. Pharmacists may need to contact their software vendor to ensure their report is compliant.

Weekly reporting S8 drugs submission process

Can I send six weeks of data in one file/report in October?

No. The final September monthly report should be submitted separately, prior to submitting the first week on S8 Submission Day Monday 9 October 2017.

Can I submit two weeks in one file/report if I miss one week?

No. Each file must contain one week’s data from the period Sunday to Saturday to ensure consistency across the state. The file includes fixed specifications for weekly processing.

Do I have to send a file/report if I do not dispense any S8 drugs for that week?

Yes. Pharmacies will still be required to upload a file, even if they have had no S8 prescriptions. Generating a file will ensure Queensland Health officers do not follow up on potentially late submissions by pharmacists.

The process to generate and upload the zero prescription file in the dispensing software has not changed. The file provides information to identify that zero prescriptions were dispensed for the period.

I submitted a weekly file prior to the start date of 1 October. Do I need to submit it again?

No. If you have, you will be contacted by a Queensland Health representative to discuss the best solution for your pharmacy.

What day does the week start and end on?

The reporting week will begin every Sunday and end after close of business every Saturday.

We ask that pharmacists send the report for the completed week every Monday, for the week prior.

A file/report with different days than Sunday to Saturday range will not be accepted. If you have, you will be contacted by a Queensland Health representative to re-submit with correct dates.

Information reported for S8 drugs

What medicines are reported?

Prescription medicines that are at high risk of misuse will be monitored by the system. This includes all Schedule 8 medicines, such as oxycodone, alprazolam and methylphenidate, because they carry the greatest risk of misuse.

How is information reported?

When a prescription is dispensed at the pharmacy, the dispensing record created by the pharmacy’s dispensing software is used to produce a report which is selected by the pharmacist and submitted via a secure file upload service to the Medicines Regulation and Quality Unit at Queensland Health.

The record is created when the prescription is dispensed at the pharmacy, not when the prescription is written by the doctor.

How do I submit the S8 controlled drug dispensing data?

The process to upload the S8 drug report will not change. Pharmacies will continue to use the file upload service to supply this data (http://external.health.qld.gov.au/). If you don't know the login credentials, please email MODDS@health.qld.gov.au

Please ensure you select the correct week dates and file before uploading.

Please do not rename the file as it conforms to an agreed standard for system processing.

How do doctors view records from my medical clinic or pharmacy?

This information will be accessible to doctors during a consultation.

To be most effective in assisting a doctor’s prescribing decision for a particular patient, the S8 prescription history for a patient should, ideally, be available to the doctor at the time of prescribing. While there is a national project underway to enable this real-time capability, there are actions Queensland is taking to improve timely information at the point of prescribing.

Queensland Health will also develop a business case, starting later this year, to assess the best options for implementing real-time reporting.

Do I need to retain the prescription?

Yes. Pharmacists will need to continue to retain the physical prescription for two years, as per current practice.

What information is reported?

Information to be reported includes: patient name, address, date of birth, details of medicines supplied (name, strength and quantity), and doctor and pharmacy details.

The system captures the dispensing records of certain high risk medicines from prescriptions dispensed at all community pharmacies.

I participate in the Queensland Opioid Treatment Program and supply written instructions to the Department of Health monthly. Is this changing?

No. Please continue to post written instructions monthly.

Where can I get further information?

Further information is available on the Queensland Health website.

The Medicines Regulation and Quality Unit officers can be contacted via email MRQ@health.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 1 May 2019

From the Chief Health Officer

A letter from Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer and Deputy-Director General, Queensland Health was recently distributed to pharmacists across Queensland.

Read Dr Young’s letter regarding changes to controlled drug reporting (PDF, 225 kB)

Weekly reporting of S8 drugs calendar

This calendar contains numbered weeks (i.e. week 40) to assist pharmacists in determining the date range required for submission.

If an officer from the Data Collections and Quality Team is required to contact you in relation to the prescription data, they will reference these week numbers-so it's important this calendar is kept in a central location.

More information

File Upload Service user guide for pharmacists (PDF, 223 kB)

This user guide will assist pharmacists to upload prescriptions generated by their dispensing software. Please note, that only files in an approved electronic format will be accepted for processing.

Download a printable factsheet on the change to weekly reporting of S8 drugs (PDF, 263 kB)

For policy or operational queries relating to this change, contact the Medicines Regulation and Quality Unit by email MRQ@health.qld.gov.au