7CPA improves access to medicines

The Federal Budget has confirmed the benefits for Australian patients that will be delivered through the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement (7CPA).

The 7CPA, signed in June this year, 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, says: “The 7CPA was negotiated over 12 months between the Commonwealth and the Pharmacy Guild, with the backdrop in 2020 of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Key features of the $18.3 billion five-year agreement 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.
  • New funding to enhance the Closing the Gap PBS co-payment measure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • 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 investment in medication management programs to support medication management and adherence for older Australians.
  • Support for the harmonising of regulations around pharmacists administering vaccines.

“The vital role of local community pharmacies in the Australian health system has never been more visible than in 2020, where the Covid-19 emergency and the bushfires across multiple states have strained the primary healthcare system.

“Through these difficult times, community pharmacies have stayed open to serve patients and ensure the continued availability of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines and other products and services,” Mr Tambassis says.

The Executive Director of the Pharmacy Guild, Suzanne Greenwood, says: “The Community Pharmacy Agreement achieves a commendable balance between the interests of patients, taxpayers, and the owners of local pharmacies across Australia. It ensures the local community pharmacy network will continue to serve patients very well.”

The Pharmacy Guild notes that government has retained the pharmacy-funded optional $1 discount on PBS patient co-payments. The Guild maintains the view that there are more effective and more equitable ways to improve the affordability of PBS medicines, and it will continue to advocate for alternative policy options to replace this discount which benefits only a minority of patients.

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