Sixth Agreement details revealed.
Health minister Sussan Ley has signed a letter of intent with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, detailing the five-year Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement which will commence on 1 July 2015.
Key elements include a new “Administration, Handling & Infrastructure Fee” (AHI), described as a structural reform which will substantially delink dispensing remuneration from the price of medicines “enabling the government to continue its PBS reforms whilst not jeopardising standards of patient care”.
Pharmacy Guild president George Tambassis said he was pleased that the government had recognised the clinical importance and value of dispensing through an increase in remuneration.
He said the government would also maintain Community Service Obligation payments to pharmacy wholesalers, while the agreement will provide up to $1.26 billion for “evidence-based, patient-focused pharmacy programs” – including $50m for a Pharmacy Trial Program, and $600 million in a “contingency reserve” to support new and existing community pharmacy programs and services.
Tambassis said the government will also implement a range of savings across the PBS supply chain, which will see pharmacists contribute significantly both directly and through flow-on impacts.
“The government has made clear that these savings are necessary to secure the Agreement, and the Guild is supporting them with the exception of the discounting of the PBS co-payment measure, which is a matter for government,” Tambassis said.
The Guild said the Federal Coalition had also committed to legislating to extend the Location Rules until mid-2020, while Shadow Health Minister Catherine King also last week confirmed Labor’s support for the Location Rules.
Tambassis said he was pleased the negotiations for the Sixth Agreement had reached the stage of a letter of intent because it would give community pharmacies certainty so they have the necessary confidence to continue investing and employing staff.
“On behalf of the Guild, I thank Minister Ley and her team for progressing the negotiations to this important milestone,” Tambassis said.
More information in today’s issue of Pharmacy Daily.