Since 01 July 2015 people living with HIV (PLHIV) can now choose to order and pick up their HIV medications at community pharmacies – or continue picking up their HIV medications from their existing hospital pharmacies – the choice is yours. QPP have provided an information brochure and additional information about this on our website here: https://www.qpp.org.au/treating-hiv/can-get-treatment
The real advantage of being able to order and pick up your HIV medicines at a community pharmacy is convenience of after-hours and weekends, which hospital based pharmacies don’t provide. However, for some people their existing hospital pharmacy may still be a convenient means to pick up their medications, and that option remains as it always was.
You can also order your medications online and have them delivered to you (ask your pharmacy if they offer this service and whether postal fees apply). Everyone’s needs and circumstances are different. Now you get to choose the arrangement that best suits you – either staying where you are at the hospital pharmacy or accessing a community pharmacy in your local neighbourhood.
Setting up a relationship with your pharmacists is similar to what you have been accustomed to with your HIV doctor or clinic staff when you met them – it’s about private discussions and developing the relationship, which is a skill on both sides. No doubt accessing a community pharmacy for the first time brings another person (the pharmacist) into your ‘disclosure circle’, but pharmacist are professionally trained health professionals and are obligated to keep your information confidential and private at all times. You can always phone ahead to enquire with a pharmacy. Once the professional relationship has been established it’s usually enduring and helpful. However, some community pharmacies may choose not to order and stock your HIV medicines for you, because they don’t have the business capacity to do so or confidence in their own skills sets for advising about HIV medications, but most will. There are ample HIV help resources for pharmacists that have been developed by their Professional Associations and The Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH).
If you are unsure which pharmacy to approach for your HIV medicines to be supplied, QPP is developing a list of new community and online pharmacies as they become known to us, so give us a call if you are having difficulties finding a pharmacy, we may be able to help.
Here’s where you can help
If you have already established a relationship with a community pharmacy we would like to hear from you the name and contact details for the pharmacy, so that we might be able to recommend that pharmacy to other PLHIV in that vicinity.
Here’s where we can help
If you are having difficulties deciding upon your options, we can help in the discussion about what choices might suit you best. We may also be able to contact a pharmacy in your preferred location asking them – on your behalf – if they would be willing to stock your HIV medications. We can also assist advocating for you if you are experiencing any difficulties or concerns with your chosen community pharmacy.
HERE’S WERE WE CAN WORK TOGETHER
Whether you have accessed a community pharmacy so far or not, we would like to hear your experiences and opinions – to measure how this is going, and to assist iron-out any problems you might be experiencing or reservations. As part of an overall national community survey, we welcome all PLHIV accessing their clinical-care and HIV medications in Queensland to complete the following survey:
- From 1 July 2015, PLHIV will be able to access HIV medications from the community pharmacy of their choice, or stay with your existing hospital pharmacy – the choice is yours.
- You can always choose to go back to your hospital pharmacy (with your script) if you are not happy with a community pharmacy, or find another community pharmacy.
- If you do choose to access a community pharmacy you will need a prescription dated 01 July 2015, or thereafter, for it to be honoured by a community pharmacist. If your present script and its repeats are dated pre- 01 July 2015, obtain a new prescription from your HIV doctor for this.
- Ask your pharmacist what notification periods they require – plan ahead to renew your script and allow time for the community pharmacist to order in your supply. Some pharmacist recommend smart phone apps that can link directly to the pharmacy for automatic reordering, or have their own SMS reminder service to you. Ask your pharmacy about these.
- Develop a relationship with your chosen community pharmacist. If you don’t wish to ask face-to-face, a phone call to ask if they would stock your medications could be a good ‘icebreaker’. Advise the pharmacist of your needs and what medications your prescription contains.
- If it’s easier to have postal deliveries, there are online options you can access. Some pharmacies may offer free delivery, some may not – ask about delivery costs.
The contacts below can provide more information and assistance regarding these new arrangements:
QUEENSLAND POSITVE PEOPLE (QPP)
Phone: 07 3013 5555
Phone (Toll Free within QLD): 1800 636 241
THE PHARMACY GUILD OF AUSTRALIA – QUEENSLAND BRANCH
Phone: 07 3831 3788
PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA – QUEENSLAND BRANCH
Phone: 07 3896 1900