The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) said Monday it applauds a decision by lawmakers to increase funding for pharmacist programs and professional services in the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA).
The decision increases funding from $600 million to $1.2 billion over the next five years.
“Our 6CPA discussion paper released late last year, better health outcomes through improved primary care, as well as ongoing advocacy by PSA and our all of our members, argues that $1.2 billion is the amount necessary to properly fund important pharmacist-delivered services in 6CPA," PSA Acting National President Michelle Lynch said.
Details of services and programs have not been made public. Lynch said she hopes this funding brings surety to the continuation of professional services .
“Patient access to the health benefit of these $1.2 billion worth of services is critical," Lynch said. "We know that our members – Australia’s pharmacists – are ready to deliver services to communities and consumers in need. We look forward to helping pharmacists deliver the full range of professional services as soon as possible.”
Even with this good news, PSA officials said they are concerned about some measures proposed by the government to create savings in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) budget.
“What we would not wish to see is that the benefits for consumers in any proposed pharmacist programs are offset by cuts in other areas," Lynch said. "As PSA and key consumers groups stated last week, we are opposed to proposals that disadvantage consumers with chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, and those living in rural areas.
“We urge the minister to reconsider the delisting of over-the counter medicines on the PBS, the $1 discretionary discount and the proposed copayment increases from last year’s budget, as the full impact of these measures has not been properly considered,” she said.