Medicines you are prescribed in hospital

Many public hospitals within South Australia currently have a standard list of medicines available to treat you while in hospital and when you leave. This list may be different depending on the hospital you attend.

A statewide medicine list is being developed that will:

  • provide a fairer system, allowing you to be offered the same treatment options regardless of the hospital you attend
  • make sure safe, appropriate and effective medicines are available to treat conditions seen in South Australia

For more information, see the frequently asked questions below or download the frequently asked questions (PDF 1616KB).

Why is a statewide medicine list needed?

Many hospitals within South Australia already have a standard list of medicines.

The medicines available may not be the same between hospitals. These differences mean you may be offered different treatment depending on your hospital.

A statewide medicine list will ensure all patients are able to access the same options for treatment. This is a fairer system for all South Australians.

What will be on the statewide medicine list?

There will be a large number of medicines available to treat conditions seen in South Australia.

The statewide list will be similar although not identical to the national Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which provides affordable access to medicines in the community.

Many medicines only used in hospitals will be on the statewide list, although not on the PBS.

Some medicines are very similar to each other, producing the same effects and are used to treat the same condition. In these cases only one or two rather than the whole group may be available on the statewide medicine list.

What is considered when listing a medicine?

It is important that medicines included in the statewide list are safe, easily obtained after discharge from hospital and are suitable for South Australians.

Medicines on the list will have a good safety record, provide effective treatment options and be of a good and reliable quality.

Costs of medicines will be reviewed, ensuring that you are getting the best value for money.

Who decides what is included?

A committee with expertise in medicines and their use manage the medicine list. This group includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medicine experts as well as a patient representative.

There is wide consultation with many groups to guide the committee with its decision making.

The process of deciding the medicines on the list involves discussions with many different people including all SA Health hospitals, doctors with expertise in the medicines being reviewed, and other specialist groups that look after patients with the condition for which the medicine is used.

How will the statewide medicine list affect me?

It is unlikely you will be aware of any changes. If you are regularly admitted to hospital you may notice there may be slight changes to medicines you only receive when you are an inpatient.

Will the statewide medicine list change?

Medical research is constantly providing new medicines and sometimes highlighting better medicine options or problems with existing medicines. The list will be reviewed regularly to ensure that safe, appropriate and effective medicines are available within SA Health Hospitals.

Medicines may be added to or removed from the list. The regular on-going review will be undertaken in a similar way to the initial process.

What happens if my regular medicines are not on or are removed from the list?

Your current medicines will continue unless your doctor thinks a change will improve your health. In some cases your doctor may decide to change you to a listed medicine.

If you have previously obtained supply of these medicines through the hospital you will be able to continue to obtain supply.

What happens if my doctor wants to prescribe a medicine not listed?

If medicines on the statewide list are not suitable to treat your condition, your doctor can apply for an individual patient use if they believe that there is another more appropriate medicine.

The approval process will consider safety, effectiveness and other options available. In non-urgent situations or if higher approval is required the process may take a few days.

If you have any further questions

If you have any further questions regarding medicines, ask to talk to your hospital pharmacist or doctor.