How has COVID-19 impacted medication dispensing?

Renowned Monash University data scientist, Professor Dickson Lukose, is teaming up with Monash’s Centre for Medicine Use and Safety (CMUS) to investigate the unintended consequences COVID-19 has had on medication use in Australia.

The collaboration between CMUS and the Monash Data Futures Institute will analyse the impact the pandemic has had on dispensing of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines, and will use a sample of more than 400 million dispensing records of Australians from 2005 to present.


CMUS Director Professor Simon Bell says: ”Medicines are the most common intervention in healthcare and it’s important to know whether COVID-19 has led to unintended consequences in terms of how medicines are used for acute and chronic conditions.”

“As you might expect, this year many vulnerable and older people with chronic and complex conditions have self-isolated in their homes, potentially limiting opportunities for consultations to have medications prescribed and dispensed,” says Professor Bell.

“Other potential consequences of the pandemic include non-adherence or non-persistence to long-term preventative medications, or changes in the prescribing or dispensing of medications for mental health or pain.”

A recent commentary authored by Professor Bell and colleagues in the Australian Journal of General Practice described new initiatives to help ensure vulnerable Australians continue to consult their general practitioner and visit pharmacies to have medicines prescribed and dispensed.

“The collaboration between CMUS and the Monash Data Futures Institute will inform the development of strategies to maintain quality use of medicines in the event of future pandemics.”

The program is made possible through the Monash Melbourne Experiment, a major interdisciplinary research collaboration to investigate the effects of COVID-19 on the city of Melbourne. The Experiment was launched in May to investigate a broad range of impacts including traffic flow, electricity use, urban and household behaviour, use of parks and public spaces and air quality.

CMUS is located at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Parkville.

Contact: Kate Carthew

Phone: 0438 674 814