Federal Budget makes medicines more accessible

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Albanese Government’s 2024-25 federal budget, making healthcare more accessible to Australians through cost-of-living relief and expanded pharmacy programs.

Australians will have access to cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, with a freeze on indexation for at least one year ensuring that the cost of medicines does not rise with the cost of living. On top of this, all PBS medicines dispensed by a community pharmacy, hospital, or approved prescriber will now be covered by the Closing the Gap PBS co-payment, making essential medicines free or cheaper for First Nations people.

The government are also set to invest $151.1 million to improve access to dose administration aids (DAAs), lifting the service cap from 60 to 90 services per pharmacy per week.

The Budget has also reaffirmed Commonwealth support for the Aged Care On-site Pharmacists (ACOP) program, investing $333.7 million to embed credentialed pharmacists in aged care facilities from 1 July 2024. Critically, the Budget also confirmed funding for pharmacists to deliver vaccination services in aged care and disability homes, actioning one of PSA’s key recommendations in its 2024-25 Federal Budget Submission.

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim welcomed the Budget, saying that measures to tackle the cost of healthcare are critical to improving accessibility of care.

“Slowing down the rising cost of medicines is essential to ensuring that basic healthcare remains accessible despite the rising cost of living,” Associate Professor Sim said.

“Measures like lifting the cap on dose administration aids and investing in PBS medicines access for First Nations people are a step in the right direction, ensuring that support is rightly focused on priority populations.

“Closing the Gap must continue to be a priority for the entire health sector. PSA continues to promote measures that support greater health outcomes for First Nations people, including improving access to essential medicines.

“As negotiations on the 8th Community Pharmacy Agreement and other agreements continue, PSA is highlighting the importance of funding for the delivery and quality improvement of pharmacist programs to further support patient safety.

“We continue to highlight that pharmacists are key to improving Australians ’access to care and quality use of medicines and medicine safety.”

Associate Professor Sim also acknowledged the $160 million investment in women’s health initiatives included in this year’s budget.

“I sincerely thank Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney MP for her continued advocacy for women’s health. It is positive to see investment into women’s health in this year’s budget.

 

“This is only the start of the journey, and I look forward to working collaboratively with the government, the Department and other stakeholders on this important work. ’

“On behalf of PSA and Australia’s 37,000 pharmacists, I commend Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler, Treasurer Jim Chalmers MP on delivering today’s Budget.”

Must Read

Australia’s Premier Virtual Pharmacy Careers Event Returns

0
The Pharmacy Careers Summit (PCS) is thrilled to announce the return of its highly-anticipated virtual event – the Pharmacy Careers Summit 2024. Following the...