Quality use of medicines for palliative care
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Many of the drugs commonly used in palliative care are not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Australia and are therefore not freely available to patients outside the acute hospital system. In an attempt to address the inequity faced by patients being cared for in the community or hospices, the Palliative Care Medicines Working Group was established by the Australian Government. This has resulted in a separate palliative section within the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which allows for authority prescribing of a number of medications that may be required by a palliative care patient. This paper discusses the medications currently on this listing, the processes by which they were selected and the ongoing efforts to broaden access to required medications.