More essential support for patients through community pharmacy

Australians will have better access to subsidised medicines and medication management services through community pharmacy with the Morrison Government finalising a seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement (7CPA).

Under this landmark agreement, the government will continue to partner with community pharmacy to ensure Australians have access to more than 200 million subsidised Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescriptions each year through their community pharmacy of choice.

Medicine safety will be a key focus of the 7CPA with the Morrison Government increasing its investment in medication management services and programs to $1.2 billion over five years, which is an additional $100 million investment compared to actual expenditure in the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt MP said elderly Australians, people with chronic conditions and Australians on concession cards would benefit from this increased investment through simplified and improved Community Pharmacy medication management, and adherence programs, such as dose administration aids and medicine checks.

“There will also be greater support for regional, rural and remote pharmacies to deliver community pharmacy services with reforms to the Rural Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance to adopt the Modified Monash Model for rural classification,” Minister Hunt said.

“Our Government will also implement reforms to improve access to medicines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by expanding the number of people eligible for the Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment measure.”

This program provides free or lower cost medicines to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who have, or at risk of, chronic disease.

There will be greater transparency for consumers on the cost of their medicines, and the government will reduce the level of discretionary fees that can to be charged on medicines priced below the general patient co-payment.

Consumers will continue to have access to cheaper medicines through the continuation of the optional $1 discount on PBS co-payments.

The Morrison Government will also work to support the adoption of a nationally consistent approach to vaccinations available through community pharmacies.

The 7CPA signed by the Commonwealth, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and for the first time the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, will commence on July 1, 2020 and be in place until June 30, 2025.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said the 7CPA demonstrated the Morrison Government’s ongoing support for patients and community pharmacy.

“This agreement acknowledges the role Australia’s community pharmacies have played and continue to play in our government’s efforts to improve the health of all Australians,” Mr Vasta said.

“Community pharmacies have played a central role in supporting their community during the recent bushfires and have kept their doors open to support patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Remuneration for the dispensing of subsidised PBS medicines, community pharmacy medication management programs and services, is expected to be $18.3 billion over the five years of the agreement.

The Morrison Government will provide greater funding predictability for the dispensing of PBS medicines by community pharmacies through structural reforms to dispensing remuneration, and risk sharing arrangements to ensure Australians continue to have timely access to safe and affordable medicines for the next five years.

Reforms to pharmaceutical wholesaling and the Community Service Obligation Funding Pool arrangements will 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.

The Morrison Government continues to make more medicines available for patients through the PBS. Since 2013, our Government has approved more than 2,400 new or amended medicine listings on the PBS.

This represents an average of around 30 medicine listings or amendments per month – or one each day – at an overall investment by the Government of $11.6 billion.

Taken together, the measures agreed as part of the 7CPA underscore the Morrison Government’s rock solid commitment to ensuring that Australians can access essential, affordable medicines and community pharmacy services, when and where they need them.