Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist April 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist April 2014 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 17
The environment around negotiation for the next Community Pharmacy
Agreement could be the toughest yet, National President of the
pharmacy Guild, George Tambassis, said.
Mr Tambassis told APP delegates that
the pharmacy landscape was, as ever,
'We are almost into the final year of the
Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement.
And that means we will soon be entering
the negotiation period for the Sixth
Agreement,' he said. 'And I think to be
candid, the environment around that
negotiation will be as tough as we've
ever seen. Perhaps tougher!
'We're heading into that territory
against the backdrop of simplified
price disclosure which has shifted the
goalposts against us -- in a way which
also happens to be a breach of the
Mr Tambassis said that in addressing the
challenges the profession faced, one of
the Guild's important roles was to act as
'And in that regard our mantra is that
we must always try to bring solutions to
Government rather than just problems.
In the current fiscal environment,
walking into a meeting with a Federal
Minister with your hand out looking
for money is usually going to be futile,'
'We took the unusual step this year
of making a pre-Budget submission
to Government. In the past we have
been somewhat quarantined from the
year-to-year Budget cycle because of the
existence of the five year Agreements.
'But not so now it seems, in view of what
happened with so-called simplified
price disclosure. So our submission is a
positive document which puts forward
constructive and affordable suggestions
about how Australia can get more value
and better health outcomes from the
existing pharmacy network -- provided
that network remains viable.'
Mr Tambassis said simplified price
disclosure would strip an additional
$30,000 from the bottom line of the
average pharmacy next financial year.
That was on top of the $60,000 already
being lost through the existing price
'We estimate it will take an 88c per
script boost to the dispensing fee to
fully compensate pharmacies for that
additional loss caused by simplified price
disclosure,' Mr Tambassis said.
'Publicly and privately, the Government
says it has no money to fix this issue.
But we are going to persevere -- we must.'
Mr Tambassis said while revenue was
heading down, pharmacy expenses kept
heading north, and at a faster rate than
CPI, making it difficult to trim costs in
response to a reduction in remuneration.
This put jobs, opening hours and
services in the firing line.
GMiA calls for government
The Government's rhetoric of being open
for business did not match the reality,
Chairman of the Generic Medicines
Industry Association Chairman, Mark
Mr Crotty called on government to think
before irreversible damage occured to the
generic medicines industry in Australia.
'Price disclosure is having a devastating
effect,' he said.
'We are looking at an 80% price reduction
over two years. That remuneration
reduction has come with no consultation.'
Mr Crotty said the PBS had been
compromised too much already with some
$18 billion in savings tipped up to 2017.
'It's time to stand up and fight. We have to
say enough is enough.'
Mr Crotty also criticised the use of overseas
experiences to justify price cuts in Australia.
'Selective use of isolated data from other
counties is damaging the sector and may
cause rash recommendations which do not
apply to the Australian market,' he said.
'PBS reform is delivering more savings than
expected and to avoid inflicting irreversible
damage to the generic medicines industry,
it is important that there are no more
damaging price cuts to generic medicine'.
These unforecasted and unplanned savings
were most damaging to the generic
medicines sector and disproportionately
damaged the generic medicines industry
model placing at risk a viable generic
medicines industry and patient access
to medicines. Policy changes were
Mr Crotty said it was imperative that if
Australian wanted a best-practice PBS,
it should not aim for the 'cheapest' scheme
or cherry-pick elements from other
countries. A best-practice PBS provided a
stable industry with fair remuneration from
the PBS and was an essential foundation for
the entire medicines industry in Australia.
State of the
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