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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Seventh community pharmacy agreement signed by Pharmacy Guild and PSA

Health Industry Hub | June 15, 2020 |

Pharma News: The Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement signed by the Pharmacy Guild and PSA provides stability for Australia’s 5,800 community pharmacies, 29,000 pharmacists, and ensures the delivery of quality pharmacy services to Australian patients.

The National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, George Tambassis, said “This is an Agreement for the times – negotiated over 12 months between the Commonwealth and the Pharmacy Guild, with the backdrop in 2020 of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The vital role of local community pharmacies in the Australian health system has never been more visible than in 2020, where the COVID emergency and the bushfires across multiple States have strained and stretched the primary health care system. Through these challenging times, community pharmacies have stayed open to serve patients and ensure the continued availability of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines and other products and services, including vaccination,” Mr Tambassis said.

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The Community Pharmacy Agreement remains an Agreement between the Commonwealth and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, but for the first time in this Agreement the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is also a signatory to relevant parts.

“PSA fought incredibly hard to represent pharmacists in this agreement. This was a particularly difficult agreement to negotiate, given the likely impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman.

“This agreement also supports the uptake of electronic prescribing to enable safer and more efficient use and supply of medicines by pharmacists while supporting patient choice and ensuring their privacy is maintained.

“PSA’s role in negotiations will achieve genuine and positive outcomes over the term of the agreement, support the vital role of pharmacists in primary care and enable them to practice to full scope, delivering better health outcomes for their patients,” commented A/Prof Freeman.

‘We welcome the $100m funding boost for important programs including Home Medicines Review (HMR), Residential Medication Management Review (RMMR) and MedsCheck, and we look forward to reorienting how Australia’s hospitals can participate in the HMR program given recent rule changes,” said Chief Executive Kristin Michaels from Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA).

The Chair of the Pharmacy Guild’s Pharmacy Viability Committee, and chief negotiator of the Agreement, Trent Twomey, said  “I am confident that the outcome of this epic negotiation process is in the best interests of Australian patients and the local community pharmacies who continue to serve them so well. The Agreement we have arrived at contains a number of reforms that will benefit patients for many years to come.”

Key features of the Agreement include:

  1. Dispensing remuneration increased and indexed to underpin the dispensing of more than 200 million subsidised prescriptions each year for Australian patients.
  2. Increased investment in regional, rural and remote areas through an increase in the Rural Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance.
  3. Expanding patient access to Dose Administration Aids by doubling the base cap for pharmacies providing the service and providing uncapped access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  4. Maintaining the investment in medication management programs to support older Australians’ medication management and adherence.
  5. Recognising improved health outcomes for Australians if the regulations around pharmacists administering vaccines are harmonised across Australia.
  6. New funding to enhance the Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment measure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  7. Reforms to pharmaceutical wholesaling and the Community Service Obligation Funding Pool arrangements to ensure pharmaceutical wholesalers can continue to support community pharmacies in providing equitable and timely access to medicines for all Australians, particularly those living outside our major cities.

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