Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist January 2013 Contents Australian Pharmacist January 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
By Andrew Daniels
The Fifth Community Pharmacy
Agreement (5CPA) is delivering for the
community and has the flexibility to
address issues as they arise according to
Federal Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek.
Reflecting on her first year as Health
Minister, Ms Plibersek told guests at
the Pharmacy Guild annual dinner on
26 November that the Government's
approach is to make sure the 5CPA,
'is properly evaluated and to use
the lessons learned to feed into the
development of a Sixth Agreement'.
'I know that as a profession you face many
challenges and I am committed to working
with you to ensure that patients get access
to medicine in a timely way. More and
more will be expected of community
pharmacists. The ageing population and
the increasing numbers of patients with
chronic illnesses demand it.
'I am confident you are all up to the
challenge and I will enjoy working with
you to resolves issues as they arise for the
benefit of patients and the communities
that you serve,' she said.
Ms Plibersek said that listing new
medicines on the PBS is one of the most
tangible things a Health Minister does
that directly changes patients' lives for
the better. And while it is expensive, it is
money well spent.
She said that the Gillard Government
has a strong record of delivering for
patients. Since 2007, almost $5 billion
in new medicines had been listed -- in
cancer alone this included $1.3 billion to
list 30 new medicines to treat 15 different
types of cancers on the PBS, saving many
patients over $5,000 per treatment.
Ms Plibersek said that a lot of good work is
underway through the 5CPA and said that
2,965 pharmacies have signed up to deliver
the Diabetes MedsCheck service and that
more than 7,000 patients have benefited
from either a MedsCheck or a Diabetes
MedsCheck in less than five months.
'These numbers will grow fast. More and
more consumers will discover, to their
great relief, that their local pharmacist can
help them with these and other problems.'
She thanked pharmacists for their
cooperation on price disclosure.
'On 1 April this year the price of more
than 1,000 different generic drugs fell
-- some by as a much as $15 per packet.
That meant 60 different types of medicine
were cheaper for patients. This is
great news -- and it was only possible
through the co-operation of the entire
supply chain including manufacturers,
wholesalers and the pharmacists.
'As you know, these price cuts are
essential to allow us to continue to
finance the PBS and allow new medicines
to be listed as they are proven effective --
paying less for old, off-patent medicines
gives us the head room to list exciting
new medicines,' she said.
Tough year good results
Guild was delighted
with its results in
2012 which were
achieved in a difficult
to Guild President Kos Sclavos.
Speaking at the Pharmacy Guild annual
dinner he told guests that pharmacy has
embraced the requirement to record their
professional clinical activities.
'In the area of clinical interventions
alone a massive 1.4 million recordings
have occurred in 16 months. This result
justifies the Guild's significant investment
in eHealth and also silences a number of
critics who doubted pharmacists would
take up these programs in such numbers.
'My pharmacist colleagues have embraced
these activities because they can be
incorporated seamlessly into their everyday
pharmacy practice. That's the key,' he said.
Mr Sclavos said that 2012 had been a
volatile and difficult year across the
economy, and across all industries --
and community pharmacy has been
no exception. For example in April,
the largest set of PBS price reductions in
the history of the scheme had occurred
and on 1 December further significant
price reductions occurred.
'These are very significant falls,
underlining the ongoing sustainability
of the PBS, but adversely impacting
community pharmacy. And more
recently -- indeed currently -- we are
working with Government to try to
resolve the chemotherapy funding issue
which has arisen because of the collision
between the Price Disclosure system,
and the separate chemotherapy funding
'While representing our members, we will
bring good faith to this challenge and work
closely with Government to ensure that this
extremely important work can continue to
be delivered in a viable way,' he said.
'We are proud of what we have delivered
via the Agreement this year. The success
of the Agreement is indicated by the key
statistic that all allocated Agreement
funding was taken up in the 2011/12
financial year, clearly indicating the
willingness of my pharmacy colleagues to
embrace these initiatives. '
Looking ahead to 2013, Mr Sclavos said,
'up front I state that many pharmacies
are doing it very tough out there --
the reduction in revenue, the impact
of price disclosure, the spike in award
penalty rates, pressure from landlords
and banks and a depressed retail market
see many community pharmacists facing
significant difficulties. We will do what we
can to support our colleagues!
'On the positive we look forward to a
number of changes around PCEHR in
early 2013 that we hope will see doctors
involved in a more positive role in
eHealth. Pharmacists are ready to work
collaboratively in this field'.
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