Open Email Discussions

The purpose of email discussions is to share information about medicines and practice in NSW public hospitals. NSW TAG members are encouraged to respond to email discussion requests for information. However it should be noted that information is only a current snapshot at the time the response is sent. The responses received are only representative of the hospitals participating in the discussion at the time (which may be small depending on the topic) and do not indicate a complete picture of current practices. It is recommended that email discussion topics are regularly brought to the attention of DTC meetings as they are likely to facilitate discussion of contemporary and emerging medicines and practice.

Completed email discussions can be found here.

Access to completed email discussions is only available to NSW TAG members. Please note, members should not share or pass on identifiable information to non-NSW TAG members. Non-NSW TAG members who are interested in an email discussion topic may obtain de-identified email discussions by contacting NSW TAG at

A list of the current open email discussions is shown below.

  • For DTC consideration: Listing of last line antimicrobials on the Life Saving Drug Register

    13 September 2019

    At the recent CEC AMS Expert Advisory Committee (AMSEAC) meeting, the topic of accessing last line antimicrobials was raised. Access poses considerable challenges to hospital AMS teams due to delays in procurement (given these items are usually not registered in Australia and require importation) and associated high cost. The idea of a central repository of last line antimicrobials was discussed by members. Given that we have a system to manage uncommonly used medicines for potentially fatal cases in the form of the Life Saving Drug Register (LSDR), it was postulated that last-line antimicrobials could be listed on it. AMSEAC members were conscious that a mechanism to distribute costs would be required so that one hospital would not be taking all of the risk.

    Some of possible agents that could be included on the LSDR are:

    • Eravacycline
    • Meropenem-vaborbactam
    • Plazomicin
    • Imipenem-relebactam


    TAG members and DTCs to please consider this proposal for discussion at the next TAG meetings in October (21st and 22nd of October 2019)

  • TGA development of a new standard for 2D DataMatrix codes for medicines

    17th September 2019

    The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is in the early stages of developing a standard for 2D DataMatrix codes*(see below for further information) for medicines in the Australian supply chain. These codes should provide a range of benefits for multiple stakeholders in our healthcare system e.g. medicine traceability and legitimacy of exported medicines.

    The standard will stipulate the information that must be included in 2D DataMatrix codes on medicines.

    The TGA are keen to know:

    • Do you currently use or plan to use any 2D DataMatrix codes (cf 1-dimensional barcodes or nothing)? What level should the unique barcode go down to e.g. individual tablet/ capsule packaging, vial/bag?
    • Are there 2D DataMatrix code specifications adopted/not adopted internationally that Australia should/ should not adopt?
    • What benefits do you see with the 2D barcodes c.f. 1-dimensional barcodes or nothing? E.g. inventory management, medicine selection, correct medicine administration at bedside?
    • We note that various barcoding requirements for  blood products is ahead of that currently required for medicines (see links below) and that those who handle blood products may have comments.

    A full public consultation of the draft standard will follow prior to finalisation.

    NSW TAG would be grateful for any thoughts on what must/should be included in the Standard.

    Please respond by COB 29th September 2019.


    *About 2D DataMatrix codes

    There is growing international use of 2D DataMatrix codes for medicines. These codes can be used to provide benefits such as preventing counterfeiting, deterring diversion of medicines from the legitimate supply chain and improving product recalls in the event of unexpected safety or quality issues. An important consideration for use of 2D codes is the ability to include unique identifiers to enable individual medicine packs to be tracked throughout the supply chain.

    The only Australian requirement currently mandated for medicines that choose to use a 2D DataMatrix code is that they must comply with the GS1 General Specifications. The development of a standard will establish a consistent framework that will provide better certainty for companies considering adoption for medicines supplied in Australia.

    To find out more about 2D DataMatrix codes, you may wish to read this information:

  • Recently Completed Email Discussions

    • The handling of sedating medicines in Emergency Departments
    • Current governance models for contrast
    • The use of ‘Rapid Protocol’ for administration of iron polymaltose
    • Prescribing medical gases (including oxygen) in NSW – current status