ScriptCheckWA: Western Australia’s real-time prescription monitoring system

What is ScriptCheckWA?

ScriptCheckWA is computer software that provides up-to-date information to your doctors and pharmacists about high-risk medicines, which have been prescribed and dispensed for you.

The information helps health practitioners make safer decisions about treating you with these medicines.

Why has ScriptCheckWA been implemented?

Prescription medicines can provide relief from pain, the symptoms of anxiety and more. However, the medicines monitored through ScriptCheckWA can also cause drug dependence and be harmful in other ways, such as in overdose.

Prescription drug dependence and overdose, as well as misuse and diversion for non-medical use, are major public health concerns both in Australia and internationally.

Over the last decade, unintentional drug-induced deaths have continued to rise in Western Australia. Opioids are the drugs most commonly associated with drug-induced deaths and pharmaceutical opioids are involved in a significant number of these deaths.

Alerting prescribers and pharmacists to potential risks in real-time can help them make safer decisions when prescribing or dispensing a monitored medicine, and potentially reduce the risk of death caused by preventable overdose.

What medicines are included in ScriptCheckWA?

Currently, all high-risk medicines classified as controlled drugs (also known as Schedule 8 medicines) are monitored through ScriptCheckWA. These medicines have been monitored in Western Australia for many years.

Schedule 8 medicines include:

  • Opioids such as morphine, oxycodone and tapentadol.
  • Stimulant medicines such as dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine and methylphenidate
  • Alprazolam and flunitrazepam
  • Medicinal cannabis
  • Methadone and buprenorphine used for opioid substitution therapy (OST, also known as the Community Program for Opioid Pharmacotherapy or CPOP).

In the future, certain other high-risk prescription only (Schedule 4) medicines will be added to ScriptCheckWA. These medicines will be listed in the Medicines and Poisons Regulations 2016 (external site).

Who has access to ScriptCheckWA?

Doctors, pharmacists and other prescribers, such as nurse practitioners, who are involved in your care may view records about you in ScriptCheckWA. Prescribers and pharmacists who are authorised to view records in ScriptCheckWA are all registered through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) (external site).

Authorised Department of Health officers can also access ScriptCheckWA as part of their regulatory role, in ensuring the safe supply of medicines in the community.

What to expect with ScriptCheckWA?

When your doctor or other prescriber, such as a nurse practitioner, is considering prescribing a high-risk medicine for you, they will check ScriptCheckWA to help them decide whether to write the prescription.

When you present your prescription for a high-risk medicine to your pharmacist, they will review the information about you in ScriptCheckWA to help them decide whether it is appropriate to dispense your prescription.

ScriptCheckWA is a tool to support clinicians in making safe decisions about prescribing and dispensing high-risk medicines. ScriptCheckWA does not tell your prescriber or pharmacist whether a medicine can or cannot be prescribed or dispensed to you.

When your doctor writes you a prescription for one of the medicines monitored through ScriptCheckWA, the details of the prescription will be automatically recorded in ScriptCheckWA. The same will happen when your prescription is dispensed by a pharmacist.

The following information will be recorded in ScriptCheckWA: 

  • date the medicine was prescribed,
  • date the medicine was dispensed,
  • the patient’s name, address and date of birth,
  • details of the medicine (medicine name, strength and quantity),
  • the prescriber’s name and practice address,
  • details of the dispensing pharmacy.

WA law also requires a record be kept of any person reported as experiencing drug dependency or oversupply of high-risk medicines. This information is also available to prescribers and pharmacists, provided they are directly involved in your care, via ScriptCheckWA.

ScriptCheckWA does not contain medical notes, test results or information about other medicines that are not on the list of monitored medicines.

Does my doctor or pharmacist need my permission to access my record in ScriptCheckWA?

No. Doctors, pharmacists and other prescribers, such as nurse practitioners, who are directly involved in your care are authorised under law to access your record, for the purpose of ensuring your safety when prescribing or dispensing high-risk medicines.

Does ScriptCheckWA stop me from getting my regular medicines?

ScriptCheckWA does not tell your prescriber or pharmacist what to do or decide whether a medicine should or should not be prescribed and supplied to you. These types of clinical decisions remain with your treating health practitioners.

The information in ScriptCheckWA will help your doctor or other prescriber determine whether the medicines prescribed for you remain the safest and best option for your medical needs.

Can I ‘opt out’ of having information about my prescriptions recorded in ScriptCheckWA?

ScriptCheckWA is not an ‘opt out’ system.

When a prescription is issued by a prescriber or dispensed by a pharmacist, the law requires the prescriber or pharmacist to record the details of the prescription. If the prescription is a high-risk medicine, the law requires the record to be supplied to the Department of Health and that means the record will be available in ScriptCheckWA.

All prescriptions dispensed for medicines monitored through ScriptCheckWA will be included. This includes both Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) items and private prescriptions.

How are my records kept secure?

Data transmitted between medical practice prescribing software, pharmacy dispensing systems and ScriptCheckWA is encrypted at all times and secure, encrypted internet connections are used. Data stored in ScriptCheckWA is also encrypted.

ScriptCheckWA uses contemporary security measures to safeguard data against unauthorised access. Health practitioners are required to use multi-factor authentication (a username/password and PIN) to log on to the software.

Information privacy and ScriptCheckWA

Information collected in ScriptCheckWA is health-related information and is subject to the same privacy principles as apply to other personal health information. Both individual health practitioners and WA Health must comply with privacy legislation when holding, using and disclosing personal health information.

The Medicines and Poisons Act 2014 (external site) limits which health practitioners can access ScriptCheckWA and how they may use the information it holds. This Act also limits how the Department of Health can use the information.

There are penalties for unlawful access, use or disclosure of information accessible via ScriptCheckWA.

Each time a record is viewed in ScriptCheckWA, the software creates a log and this can be monitored by the Department of Health.

Can I view my record in ScriptCheckWA?

As ScriptCheckWA is used to support clinical decision making and for regulatory purposes, access is limited to health practitioners and authorised officers at the Department of Health.

If you wish to view your records, you may submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Department of Health. Further information is available: Access your WA Health medical records and WA Health freedom of information contacts.

How can I correct my record in ScriptCheckWA if I believe the information about my medicines is incorrect?

Information about medicines in ScriptCheckWA is sourced from records created at medical clinics and pharmacies, where your prescriptions are issued or dispensed. ScriptCheckWA does not alter records received from medical or pharmacy systems.

If you believe there is an error in your ScriptCheckWA records you can ask your prescriber or pharmacist, who created the record, to review the information in their software system. Once updated, your information will be automatically be corrected in ScriptCheckWA.

Is ScriptCheckWA the same as My Health Record?

No, these two systems are quite separate. ScriptCheckWA does not add information to My Health Record.

A patient does not need to have My Health Record for a health practitioner to access information about them in ScriptCheckWA.

My Health Record (external site) allows patients to choose what health information is included in their record and who can access it. Patients cannot ‘opt out’ of ScriptCheckWA.

Where can I access support?

If you want to know more about chronic pain:

If you want to know more about opioids and other medicines monitored in ScriptCheckWA:

If you are concerned about your own or another person’s alcohol and drug use:

Last reviewed: 21-03-2023