A snapshot of pharmacy ownership

The majority of owners plan to move towards a professional services model, but those who do not cite uncertainty or unaffordability, according to Guild CPA survey results

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has released the results of its Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA) survey, conducted in July and August.

The survey sought feedback from community pharmacy professionals about their prevailing business conditions, the impact of the 6CPA, and their attitudes towards the 7CPA.

A total of 442 people responded, mostly working partners in pharmacies. Of these, 69% reported spending 35+ hours in their pharmacies each week. About one-quarter of respondents were female.

When asked which funded services provided within the 6CPA should be the highest priority in the 7CPA, 67% of respondents believed Dose Administration Aids should remain the key priority.

An “overwhelming” majority (84%) of respondents would like to see the abolition of the $1 optional discount in the next agreement.

Some 61% of respondents indicated they offer vaccination services, but the Guild says there is “still room for enhancement of services” amongst this group.

The vast majority of respondents had at least one consultation room.

Most respondents (61%) had implemented or were planning changes to move from a supply-focused business model to one including delivery of professional services.

However nearly one quarter (24%) indicated that they were unlikely to make changes due to uncertainty in Agreements or unaffordability.

The major barriers to participating in professional programs were identified as lack of remuneration or an appropriate business model, followed by time, access to pharmacists and training/credentialing requirements.

When asked whether additional funding in the 7CPA should be directed towards dispensing remuneration or programs funding, 51% of respondents stated a preference for additional funding for the dispensing of medicines.

“With opinions so evenly balanced, the Guild will also strive for a practical and effective balance between dispensing remuneration and professional program funding,” said a spokesperson for the Guild.

Dispensed medications were the core business for most community pharmacies who undertook the survey, with 71% of respondents having 60% or more of their turnover flowing from dispensary services.

Meanwhile 76% indicated they would like to see changes to the way high-cost medicines move through the supply chain, including having enhanced access to specialised medicines.

“As small business owners, community pharmacy owners can have difficulty managing the financial overheads attributed to dispensing high-cost medicines,” explains the Guild.

Nearly all respondents (93%) believe that manufacturers should be required to make all PBS-listed products available, in alignment with the Community Service Obligation (CSO).

Source: Pharmacy Guild of Australia
Source: Pharmacy Guild of Australia

Nearly a third (29% n=130) reported total turnover of more than $3m to $5m, while a further third (32%, n=143) had a turnover of $1.5m to $3m.

Seven percent (n=33) of respondents reported turnover of over $7m.

Nearly half of respondents (46%) rated business conditions for their pharmacy as ‘average’, compared to 28% who said business conditions were ‘good’.

Guild National President George Tambassis reminded members that there will be a series of briefings that will run from now until November.

“These briefings are especially important as next year we head into the negotiations for the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement,” says Mr Tambassis.

“Your input from these briefings and feedback from our 7CPA survey will help guide our approach during these crucial talks,” he told members.

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