Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist March 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist March 2014 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
When announcing the changes last
month, the Pharmacy Guild (PGA) said
the changes were aimed at 'ensuring
these important services continue to
be available for patients who need
The changes include:
• Limiting the life of a HMR referral to
• Ensuring that subsequent HMR and
RMMR services are based on patient
need not on a routine basis.
• Service caps for HMRs (20 per
month per service provider) and
(10 total combined per month per
• Limiting the timeframe between
repeat/additional HMRS and RMMRs
for a single patient to 24 months
• Continuing collaborative work
between the Department and the
Guild to ensure HMRs are targeted to
patients at greatest risk.
Under the new arrangements, the
Guild assumed responsibility for
administering 5CPA Programs currently
managed by the Department of Human
Services (HMR, MedsCheck, RPMA, S100
Support Allowance & RMMR) including
registration, claiming and payment
functions on 1 March.'
According to the PGA only 3% of active
HMR providers are completing more than
20 HMRs a month -- 97 providers out of
approximately 3,349 active providers.
PGA National President, George
Tambassis, welcomed the changes
saying the capping arrangements
were necessary to ensure that the
programs stay within budget and do
not compromise the other programs
and services funded through the Fifth
However, the announcement was
roundly criticised by many with a
petition launched calling for the
changes to be withdrawn.
In an eBulletin to Pharmaceutical Society
members, National President Grant
Kardachi said that while PSA recognise it
is, 'important to maintain the continuity
of the services in the current environment
where there was a significant budgetary
pressure on these services, the manner
in which these changes have been made
shows a disregard for pharmacists and the
consumers they support.'
He said the decision showed that the
Government and Guild did not see the
value in pharmacists diversifying and
seeking new business opportunities and
flew in the face of everything they had
been saying for a long time about the
need to diversify.
HMR software company Medscope
lodged a request with the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission
requesting it to intervene in the PGA
acquiring administrative control of
the Meds Management program and
the other announced changes on the
grounds of unconscionable behaviour
and misuse of market power.
It said: 'We believe the changes imposed
are not necessary to protect the
legitimate interests of the PGA. Options
have been selected that advantage PGA
members, and possibly PGA- owned
subsidiary companies, in favour of
competing businesses and accredited
pharmacists consultants competing
with PGA members.'
The President of Professional Pharmacists
Australia Geoff March said the changes
were a slap in the face to accredited
pharmacists who did not own a pharmacy.
The changes confirmed that when
it comes to administering the CPA,
the Guild's primary focus was to ensure
that the majority of funds from the
CPA flowed through the four walls of
SHPA President, Professor Michael
Dooley, said: 'GPs will no longer be
able to order a medication review and
know that the service can be provided.
Patients discharged from hospitals and
assessed to be at risk of medication
misadventure, require these services.
Plans to implement a hospital referral
pathway have been talked about for
too long. We are still awaiting a decision
about when this service will be available'.
Consumer Health Forum (CHF)
spokesman, Mark Metherell, said the CHF
was concerned that the Government had
made a 'closed shop' agreement with the
Guild without consulting consumers.
'While the changes have been justified
on the basis that they will improve
patient safety, it is hard to see how
limiting individual patient checks...
will improve patient safety'.
Responding to the criticism, Mr Tambassis
said that at a time when 'community
pharmacy needs to be making a
transformation away from a reliance on
supplying medicines towards a greater
emphasis on professional services,
imposing limits to the delivery of
medication management services was
'turning us in the wrong direction'.
'Others have made this observation...
and frankly we agree. But there was
no viable option other than to make
these very difficult decisions. Looking
to the immediate future, our task as
a sector and a profession is to work
together to convince the Government
to make the necessary investment in
medication management as a highly
cost-effective means of delivering better
Uproar over MMR and
By Andrew Daniels
Changes to Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement (5CPA) funding for
Medication Management Reviews and MedsCheck services have caused a
furore among pharmacists whose livelihoods rely on these programs.
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