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Guild issues call to members to join it in fighting the Government’s 60-day scripts push and advocating for permanent continued dispensing by pharmacists

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says it has finally got the chance to present its case in opposing the Federal Government’s push for extended dispensing of around 140 molecules.

In a letter to Guild members, National President George Tambassis says the Guild has succeeded in arranging a meeting with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) to discuss the measure.

“The Guild has been unable to effectively engage with the Government about this proposed measure – until now,” Mr Tambassis wrote, adding that prior to this agreed meeting the Guild had not been able to provide input or consult with PBAC or expert groups.

While it continues to undertake what are currently deadlocked negotiations, according to sources who spoke to AJP, Mr Tambassis says the Guild needs the support and advocacy of its members.

“We are pressing both the Government and the Department of Health to answer some of the deep concerns we have…” he said.

“We would like you to join with us…. Speak to your local MP, brief local journalists and speak to your patients about why they too should oppose this measure.”

Mr Tambassis wrote that as well as having a significant impact on pharmacy remuneration and viability, the Maximum Dispensed Quantity (MDQ) proposal would also:

  • lead to a high risk of leakage for people who should not be eligible for MDQ with associated safety risks for people whose condition is not stable or who have medicine related problems
  • discriminate against those most in need becuase they would be ineligible
  • devalue face-to-face interactions with pharmacists by reducing their frequency
  • reduce the recognition of the value of pharmacists assisting people with quality use of medicines      
  • provide no improvements in convenience, affordability or in equity for those needing the most financial assistance

In the Member letter, Mr Tambassis also said the Guild was continuing to advocate for the removal of the $1 discretionary PBS discount, and called for members to continue to push for this too.

The third item Mr Tambassis highlighted was a call to extend emergency Continued Dispensing provisions, brought in by a number of state and territory governments during the recent bushfire disaster.

“It is the Guild’s strong view that these arrangements should be ongoing and permanent,” he said.

“The sensible provision of continued dispensing by pharmacists of subsidised PBS quantities of medicine in those circumstances should be available at all times.”

NSW Guild President David Heffernan also recently argued for a permanent extension of pharmacist provision of asthma preventer medications

Click here to access our recent AJP podcast on 60-day dispensing

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