Harm Reduction Victoria

Victorian Pharmacotherapy System

The Current Victorian Pharmacotherapy System:

A Community Model of Service Delivery


When the time came to expand the pharmacotherapy program in response to HIV, Victoria adopted a ‘community model’ of pharmacotherapy service delivery, which remains in place to this day.

The pharmacotherapy program is now no longer the domain of a small handful of public hospitals. It is prescribed by local doctors with appropriate training who, by and large incorporate it into their general practice, and dispensed by neighbourhood pharmacies which have been approved as ‘dosing points.’

Supporters of the current Victorian model point to its success in both de-stigmatising (normalising) treatment delivery and widening access to the pharmacotherapy program. At present, approximately 40% of pharmacies are approved to dispense pharmacotherapy medications but, of the 14,000 people on the program as of July 2012 (Victorian Department of Health), approximately 80% are prescribed for by as few as 25 GPs. ​

Although the cost of pharmacotherapy medications was (and is still) borne by the Commonwealth Government, pharmacies were unable or unwilling to dispense it at no cost. To this day, most charge a fee of around five dollars per dose.