Project STOP is a decision making tool for pharmacists aimed at preventing the use of pseudoephedrine based products to manufacture methamphetamine.

The system works by helping pharmacists to determine patients’ therapeutic needs.

Project STOP is an online tool which provides decision support to pharmacists to determine patients' therapeutic needs.

It also assists pharmacists in meeting their state regulatory recording requirements where they exist. Project STOP is endorsed by the Pharmacy Board of Australia and all pseudoephedrine sales should be entered into Project STOP.

Project STOP is an initiative of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Australian Government to address the problem of precursor diversion through Australian Community Pharmacies.

The most common precursor sourced through the community pharmacy channel is Pseudoephedrine which can be used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamines.

What is Project STOP?

Forms of photographic identification that are acceptable for the purposes of Project STOP include:

  • A State or Territory issued driver’s license
  • A State or Territory issued Proof of Age card
  • Any other State or Territory assigned form of photographic identification.

Use of an Australian Government issued form of identification (such as an Australian passport or Medicare card) is expressly forbidden by the Privacy Act (under National Privacy Principle 7).

  • The database checks to see if the identification number was previously entered into the database within an appropriate threshold period.
  • The pharmacist decides whether or not to supply the product based on a determination of the therapeutic needs of the customer.
  • The database records whether or not the sale was made.

In some states and territories, it is a legal requirement for pharmacists to record the customer's name and address when supplying pseudoephedrine. The pharmacist will only request this extra information if required by law.

  • When a pseudoephedrine-based product is requested, the pharmacist asks to see an acceptable form of photographic identification (see below).
  • The pharmacist records the identification card number in a protected database held and operated by GuildLink, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
  • The pharmacist also records the name of the product and the quantity requested in the database.

Project STOP operates in the following way:

Project STOP is an online tool which provides support to pharmacists to assist them to determine a patients' therapeutic needs. 

Project STOP requires photographic identification is supplied when a pseudoephedrine-based product is requested.

How does Project STOP work?

(1) National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019 - AIHW

Methamphetamine, including Methamphetamine, including the highly pure form known as 'Ice', is Australia's most serious drug problem. The late 1990's saw a marked increase in the popularity of this drug. In 2019, it was estimated that there were approximately 300,000 dependent users(1)

Why is Project STOP so important?

Frequently Asked Questions

A precursor is a key ingredient. Pseudoephedrine which is the active ingredient in many common cough and cold treatments is a vital precursor in the manufacture of illicit methamphetamines. Unlike many of the other materials required to make methamphetamines, there is no substitute for Pseudoephedrine.

In this context precursor diversion is where people systematically purchase medicines containing Pseudoephedrine not for legitimate health reasons but for the purpose of manufacturing illicit methamphetamines.

In Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and Northern Territory, if you request a Pseudoephedrine based product a pharmacist must request a Government approved form of identification from you if you are unknown to them.

Quality Use of Medicines guidelines require pharmacists to determine the therapeutic needs of a customer before supplying pseudoephedrine based products. These guidelines ensure customers are getting the most suitable product for their condition.

An important piece of information in determining genuine therapeutic need is whether or not the customer has purchased pseudoephedrine within appropriate levels over a given time period. Providing identification helps the pharmacist to make this determination quickly and accurately.

A customer may decide not to provide identification and take part in Project STOP, however, the pharmacist may consider it relevant to take this into account when considering the request for pseudoephedrine.

A number of alternative medications suitable for many cold and flu symptoms are available without having to provide identification. Ther pharmacist can provide further details where necessary.

The information can vary from state to state based on the requirements of the various regulations that pharmacists operate under.

In general the database may contain information on:

  • Photo identification number
  • The product requested
  • The amount of product requested
  • Whether the product was supplied or not
  • Where the State or Territory has additional recording requirements you may be required to provide further information.

The information held in Project STOP is stored securely and access to it is strictly controlled and monitored. If the identification number was previously entered into the database within the project’s threshold period, Project STOP presents the following information to the pharmacist about the previous sales in that period: the product and quantity sold, and the location and date of each sale.

The purchase information plus the identification number will only be accessible by health authorities and the police. Project STOP is only used by these third parties for the purposes of monitoring pseudoephedrine sales and preventing the illicit use of pseudoephedrine.

Pharmacists may also be required to maintain a log of their sales depending on their jurisdictional requirements.

Personal information in the Project STOP database is held for no longer than 2 years after the date of collection, or as prescribed by relevant state or territory regulations. After this time, all personal information is removed, except where it has been determined by police that inappropriate use of pseudoephedrine has occurred, in which case the data may be held for an extended period.

In States and Territories where regulations require the collection of other identification details (e.g. name and address) for the purposes of supplying a Schedule 3 medication, pharmacists will also need to record that information. However, it is important to note that this information is not being collected for the purpose of Project STOP.

The data is held for a period of 2 years at which time all identifying information is removed and only the product and pharmacy information is retained.

The customer has several options:

  • Use the 'Contact Us' form located at the bottom of this website to advise us of the request.
  • Write to us at the address listed in the contact details section of the website. In the letter, please detail:
  • name and address
  • The identification number used in the transaction in question
  • The pharmacy visited
  • The date and approximate time of the visit
  • The nature of the issue

We will endeavour to respond to all requests promptly.

In the first instance they need to contact us and we will attempt to resolve the issue. If our response is unsatisfactory or they would prefer not to speak to us, they can make contact with the appropriate privacy organisation in their state. A list of these can be found under Privacy in the main menu of this website.

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