The Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement – signed in Canberra last night – provides certainty and stability for Australia’s 5,800 community pharmacies, and ensures the delivery of world class 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 Pharmacy Guild thanks the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, and the Department of Health for reaching this Agreement in the interests of all Australian patients who rely on their local pharmacy for medicines, advice and professional pharmacy services,” Mr Tambassis said.
Key features of the Agreement signed by Minister Hunt and Mr Tambassis include:
- Dispensing remuneration increased and indexed to underpin the dispensing of more than 200 million subsidised prescriptions each year for Australian patients.
- Increased investment in regional, rural and remote areas through an increase in the Rural Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance.
- 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.
- Maintaining the investment in medication management programs to support older Australians’ medication management and adherence.
- Recognising improved health outcomes for Australians if the regulations around pharmacists administering vaccines are harmonised across Australia.
- New funding to enhance the Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment measure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“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.
Community Pharmacy Agreements between the Commonwealth and the Pharmacy Guild have been in place since 1991, with their key purpose being to provide for the timely and equitable supply of PBS medicines across Australia.
The Agreements provide certainty for the government and for pharmacy small businesses that are tasked with the effective supply of PBS medicines on behalf of taxpayers to the maximum benefit of patients.
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.
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.”