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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Government and Pharmacy Guild finalise $26.5 billion 8CPA, with more details pending

Health Industry Hub | June 3, 2024 |

Pharma News: After nine months of negotiations, the government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia have finalised the eighth Community Pharmacy Agreement (8CPA), set to commence on 1 July 2024.

The agreement promises a significant funding boost for community pharmacies, totalling $26.5 billion over five years. This figure includes the additional $3 billion specifically allocated to offset losses from the 60-day dispensing initiative.

The extensive consultation process for the 8CPA included over 100 meetings with more than 20 organisations. The Guild’s National President, Trent Twomey, emphasised the benefits for patients, stating, “Patients will see cost of living relief via the 8CPA, done in a sustainable way that recognizes the importance of Community Pharmacists’ role delivering world-class, affordable primary healthcare. The 8CPA reinforces community pharmacies as Australians’ most accessible primary health destination.”

Initially, the federal government had pledged to reinvest $1.2 billion accrued through the 60-day dispensing scheme into pharmacies. However, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia strongly opposed this original proposal, leading to the negotiation of the additional $3 billion funding.

The Government has also signed a Strategic Agreement on Pharmacist Professional Practice Standards with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA). Commencing from 1 July 2024, this five-year agreement will ensure the standards governing pharmacists in Australia remain fit for purpose. The PSA will develop, review and update a number of practice standards, guidelines, codes, and competency frameworks to support community pharmacists to operate to a consistent standard and at the highest level of practice.

The government also announced it would initiate discussions with the PSA and “select stakeholders” to address pharmacy programs not covered by the 8CPA.

Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, said “Australians trust their local pharmacist to look after their health needs. The agreements we have struck are a win for patients who will benefit from cheaper medicines and more pharmacy services.”

However, not all reactions have been positive. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Professor Steve Robson, has criticised CPAs recently, arguing that they are “anti-competitive and continue to put the interests of pharmacy owners before patients, with several government reports also demonstrating that the CPAs lack transparency and accountability.”

A copy of the 8CPA is available here.

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