Budget 2017: changes underway for PBS, MBS


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The Health Minister is reportedly finalising agreements with the Pharmacy Guild and Medicines Australia over funding, drug costs

According to media reports Health Minister Greg Hunt is closing an agreement with Medicines Australia as the government considers changes to the PBS.

The agreement will bring down the cost of some drugs in exchange for price certainty and stability, Fairfax reports.

Minister Hunt has reportedly been telling stakeholders he wants to reinvest money into the PBS so more drugs can be listed.

He is also expected to reach a compromise with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia over the risk share dispute surrounding a shortfall in prescription volumes over 2015-16, with the Guild calling for a reimbursement of $82 million to pharmacies.

The minister has previously told pharmacy media that there was modest progress on risk share with “reasonable expectations”, although he remained optimistic a compromise could be reached.

“It’s the job of those who count the beans to challenge every minister but my view is that working with [everyone] we will find an outcome on location rules and risk share to strengthen community pharmacy,” he said at APP2017.

There have also been hints the government will be unfreezing the Medicare rebate in the May budget.

Minister Hunt has reportedly been working with AMA and RACGP representatives on a long-term plan for Medicare, and they are close to a deal on the Medicare rebate freeze.

“The Government is having constructive discussions with a number of sectors including the Pharmacy Guild, Australian Medical Association, Royal Australian College of GPs and Medicines Australia aimed at improving access to doctors, reducing the cost of medicines and improving health outcomes,” a spokesperson for the Minister told the AJP.

“These discussions are on-going and we won’t be commenting on budget matters.”

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