- It is possible for a Victorian prescriber to write a prescription for pharmacotherapy to be dispensed in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. However, interstate regulatory groups still need 2–3 weeks’ notice of a transfer.
- In the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia, pharmacists may not dispense pharmacotherapy prescriptions issued by a prescriber in another state. If you need to transfer a patient, you must arrange a transfer.
Pharmacotherapy transfers to the ACT, NSW, Queensland and South Australia
After the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) was introduced, it become possible for prescriptions written by Victorian prescribers for Schedule 8 poisons (including methadone or buprenorphine for pharmacotherapy, or opioid replacement therapy [ORT]) to be dispensed in:
- the Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- South Australia.
This is dependent on meeting the interstate requirements. For instance, some pharmacies interstate will not be able to dispense prescriptions for ORT unless the prescription has been authorised in that state or territory.
Refer to the relevant interstate regulatory group for further information on any additional interstate requirements.
Please be advised that interstate regulatory groups generally require at least 2–3 weeks’ notice for interstate transfers. The following subsections provide the contact information required to notify and seek approval for an interstate prescription.
Australian Capital Territory
Pharmaceutical Services Branch (ACT)
Phone: (02) 6207 3974
Fax: (02) 6205 0997
Alcohol and Drug Program
(24-hour intake and assistance line)
Phone: (02) 6207 9977
Opiate Treatment Service
(clinic nurses who arrange transfers)
Phone: (02) 6244 2591 (reception)
(02) 6205 1000 or 02 6244 3781
(business hours only)
Fax: (02) 6244 4622
Note that Victorian prescribers require an authorisation from the ACT Pharmaceutical Services Branch (PSB) to prescribe ORT to a patient for dosing in the ACT. The approval number issued by PSB must be written on the prescription. The number of takeaways to be prescribed may also require prior approval in the ACT. A temporary transfer may be for up to 4 weeks.
New South Wales
Pharmaceutical Services Branch (NSW)
Phone: (02) 9391 9944
Fax: (02) 9424 5860
Note that Victorian prescribers require an authorisation from NSW Pharmaceutical Services Branch (PSB) to prescribe ORT to a patient for dosing in NSW. The NSW ORT guidelines stipulate that prescriptions for ORT are to be provided directly to the dosing point and not handed to patients. A temporary transfer may be for up to 4 weeks.
Medicines Regulation and Quality
Phone: (07) 3328 9890
Fax: (07) 3328 9821
Note that Victorian prescribers require an authorisation from Medicines Regulation and Quality to prescribe ORT to a patient for dosing in Queensland. A prescription for ORT written on a standard National Health Scheme (NHS) prescription is not valid in Queensland. A specialised ‘Written instruction’ form must be completed by the prescriber. A temporary transfer may be for up to 4 weeks.
Drugs of Dependence Unit (SA)
Phone: 1300 652 584
Fax: 1300 658 447
(Monday to Friday – 9 am to 5 pm CST)
Note that there is no additional requirement for a Victorian prescriber to obtain an authorisation from the Drugs of Dependence Unit (SA) to prescribe ORT to a patient for dosing in SA.
Pharmacotherapy transfers to the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia
Prescriptions written by Victorian prescribers for methadone or buprenorphine for ORT cannot be dispensed in the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia. These states or territories have legislated to prevent prescriptions for methadone or buprenorphine for ORT being valid unless the prescriber is practising in that state or territory.
To transfer an ORT patient to these states or territories, contact the relevant state authority for information on what to do.
Please be advised that interstate regulatory groups generally require at least 2–3 weeks’ notice for interstate transfers.
For patients to be based in Darwin
Tobacco, Alcohol and Other Drugs (TADS)
Phone: (08) 8922 8399
For patients to be based in Alice Springs
Alcohol and Other Drugs Central Australia (ADSCA)
Phone: (08) 8951 7580
Pharmaceutical Services Branch (PSB) (Tasmania) and the Nurse Unit Manager at Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS)
Phone: (03) 6166 0400
Fax: (03) 6233 3904
Note that Tasmanian prescribers must comply with Tasmanian ORT guidelines. Prescribers cannot prescribe doses above methadone 120 mg/day, and cannot provide split dosing. No takeaway doses can be prescribed if a patient transfers to the care of a Tasmanian prescriber for less than 3 months.
Community Pharmacotherapy Program
The Community Pharmacotherapy Program (CPP) coordinates the transfer of patients to and from Western Australia. Prescribers wanting to arrange the interstate transfer of a patient need to liaise with the CPP.
Phone: (08) 9219 1907
Fax: (08) 9471 0444
(Monday to Friday – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm WST)
Reviewed 10 December 2021