South Australians needing essential medicines during the coronavirus pandemic will be able to go direct to a pharmacy without visiting a doctor to get a prescription.

The state government has put an emergency measure in place to ensure people will be able to access the medicines they need.

“Understandably there is a lot of anxiety in the community right now,” Premier Steven Marshall said.

“We know that this initiative will give peace of mind to many.”

Health Minister Stephen Wade said access to medicines was critical, particularly during the current pandemic.

“Pharmacists will be allowed to dispense different strengths of a product, such as two 20mg tablets in place of a 40mg tablet, or a different dose form of the same medicine, such as a capsule instead of a tablet,” Mr Wade said.

But interim Chief Pharmacist Naomi Burgess said it was important that people did not purchase or request more medicines than they needed to protect supplies.

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She said pharmacists would be able to provide patients with drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme or the smallest standard pack of drugs not on the PBS

Controlled substances including certain fertility drugs will not be supplied under the emergency measures.

AAP