By bringing forward the eighth Community Pharmacy Agreement (8CPA), the Albanese Government is admiting its 60-day dispensing policy (60DD) and its associated funding cuts have already had a damaging effect on the pharmacy industry, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said in a statement released on 7 August 2023.
In the statement, the Guild said the logical next step is to postpone the introduction of 60DD to align with a new CPA, saving patients from the impacts of the new dispensing policy.
According to Pharmacy Guild Vice-President Anthony Tassone it would be a giant policy failure to wait until next June to finalise the new agreement while introducing 60DD cuts in the meantime.
“If the government doesn’t hit pause on the policy, it will cause further pain and damage to patients, aged care residents and pharmacies, right up until next June,” Mr Tassone said.
“All pharmacists want cheaper medicine for their patients, and we believe that can be achieved without losing jobs, pharmacies closing or ending free patient services.
“We want to work with the Government to uphold their pre-election commitment which guaranteed support for pharmacies and cheaper medicine.
“The Government has decided to bring forward negotiations for a new agreement by a one year, acknowledging they have got the implementation of 60-days [60DD] completely wrong, and we need a new agreement before it is brought in.”
Mr Tassone underscored that any new agreement must address the 60DD funding cuts.
“Given the impact of 60-day dispensing on patients and community pharmacies across the nation, the eighth Community Pharmacy Agreement [8CPA] must retore funding cuts broken in the seventh CPA.
“We have always been willing to negotiate and even suggested alternatives to further bring down the cost of medicines without causing damage to the local pharmacies.”