Medicines for People Affected by the Kangaroo Island and Cudlee Creek Bushfires

People impacted by the bushfires on Kangaroo Island and the bushfires in the Adelaide Hills that started in Cudlee Creek on 20 December 2019 are being supported to access a standard quantity of their usual prescription medicines without a prescription.

This applies to most prescription medicines. It does not apply to controlled drugs (Schedule 8) such as oxycodone and fentanyl.

The temporary provision enables pharmacists to give a full Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) quantity or smallest standard pack size of an essential medicine without a prescription where there is an immediate need and the person cannot obtain a prescription from a doctor.

This provision is in place until 31 March 2020.

This is available for people who have been affected by the Kangaroos Island and Cudlee Creek bushfires and don’t have access to their medicines or prescriptions. For example:

  • A person who has lost their home
  • A person who has relocated or been displaced
  • Emergency personnel who are away from home.

What should I do if I have lost my medicines or my prescriptions?

If you are affected by the Kangaroo Island and Cudlee Creek bushfires and don’t have access to your medicines or prescriptions, your first point of contact is a local GP (or other health practitioner involved in your care).

If it is not possible for you to obtain a prescription you should visit a pharmacy and explain your situation and the medicines you require. The pharmacist will assess if you are eligible for an emergency supply of your medicines without a prescription.

What information do I need?

The pharmacist will need your name and contact details. They may ask you for the name of the health practitioner who usually prescribes your medication.

To fulfil their duty of care, the pharmacist will need to speak to you and ask you questions about your health history, they may also need to gather information from other health professionals (e.g. your GP or other pharmacists) to be satisfied that the medication is essential for your health. They will also need to be satisfied that there is a good reason why you are unable to produce a prescription (e.g. due to the bushfires).

They will also need details of your medicines including name, strength and dose directions where you have these available. If possible take along anything that documents what medicines you are taking. 

If you have a MyHealthRecord, your pharmacist may be able to look up details about your medicines or contact your usual GP practice or community pharmacy if open to confirm details.

What if I don’t remember the dosage I need?

The pharmacist will talk to you and get as much information as possible to assess the dosage required.

Will there be a cost for the medicines?

During this emergency, the Australian Government has enabled PBS subsidy for the supply of a range of medicines under the PBS Continued Dispensing scheme. If the medicine you require is subsidised by the PBS you may be able to receive it at the subsidised price, provided the pharmacist is satisfied you meet the eligibility criteria.

Some medicines supplied by pharmacists without a prescription are not subsidised by the PBS. In those circumstances your pharmacist will require you to pay for the medicine.

The costs for medicines vary greatly and may vary between pharmacies. You should discuss these costs with your pharmacist. Some people may be able to claim for reimbursement under their private health insurance.

Further information

If you are concerned about the supply, safety or storage of your medicine, contact your pharmacist or GP.

For more information about the emergency supply arrangements, contact your pharmacy or SA Health at