Should pharmacists be able to prescribe common medications like antibiotics for UTIs? We asked 5 experts

Victoria is the latest state to move towards pharmaceutical prescription, with Prime Minister Daniel Andrews promising a trial that would allow pharmacists to prescribe antibiotics for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and drugs for other conditions if re-elected.

UTIs are common, especially among women, with half having at least one in their lives.

Last week, the New South Wales government announced a trial allowing pharmacists to administer a range of travel vaccinations and prescribe antibiotics for urinary tract infections. And on Tuesday, the Northern Territory passed legislation to expand the role of pharmacists.

Queensland was the first state to extend this scope of practice: pharmacists can prescribe medicines for UTIs after a two-year trial. The state is now testing a pilot program that allows pharmacists to prescribe for a variety of other common conditions.

Proponents of the pharmaceutical prescription argue that it expands healthcare options for people who cannot access a GP and highlights pharmacists’ expertise with medicines. Meanwhile, opponents raise concerns about safety and antibiotic resistance.

So should pharmacists be able to prescribe common medications like antibiotics for UTIs? We asked 5 experts.

Three out of five said yes.

Here are their detailed responses:

Disclosure Statements: Brett Mitchell receives funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council. He has received research funding from NHMRC, HCF Foundation, Medtronics, Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control, Nurses Memorial Centre, Senver, GAMA Healthcare, Ian Potter Foundation and Commonwealth (Innovation Connections grant). He is editor-in-chief of Infection, Disease and Health; henry cutler receives funding from the Australian Health and Hospital Association; jaya tapir receives funding from Healthway, Lotterywest and DISER. She is the International Health SIG Coordinator for the Australian Public Health Association, a member of the Leadership Committee for Global Gender Equality in Health, Women in Global Health, Australia and Chair of Australian Women Graduates; Lisa Nisen received funding from the Queensland Department of Health to assess the implementation of the recent Queensland Urinary Tract Pharmacy Pilot in his previous role at Queensland University of Technology. She is Past President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (Queensland) and Past President of the Hospital Pharmacists Society of Australia (Queensland); louise stone it is a member of the RACGP, ACRRM and ASPM.

Should pharmacists be able to prescribe common medications like antibiotics for UTIs? We asked 5 experts

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