Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced the expansion of a Federal Government medication adherence program

An extra 70,000 patients of community pharmacies will benefit under the expansion, he announced at Wilkinson’s Pharmacy, Burnie, Tasmania.

The Government will provide funding for an extension of the Dose Administration Aid (DAA) program to help more patients manage their medicines and avoid medication misadventure and associated hospitalisation, he announced.

As DAAs ensure patients take the right medicine, at the right dose, at the right time, they are a vital service to improve adherence and reduce medication misadventure to keep people living independently at home rather than in aged care, the Pharmacy Guild says.

Mr Hunt, said: “The Government recognises the key role that community pharmacy plays in supporting Australian patients.

“These additional services available through community pharmacy will support more Australians in managing their medicines regime and help in avoiding problems that can arise when medicines are not taken as directed.

“Pharmacies play an important role in our community. More than 80% of community pharmacies are registered to provide DAAs and they are helping patients take the right medication at the right time,” Minister Hunt said.

“Under the expanded DAA program, the number of services available to patients will increase by about 70,000 to 380,000 per week.”

The National President of the Pharmacy Guild, George Tambassis, said: “Medication adherence is a vital aspect of the quality use of medicines and we certainly welcome the Government’s commitment of extra support to boost the number of patients who will benefit from this program.

“This is a significant and wise investment in keeping people out of hospital and delivering the best possible health outcomes.”

Under the Pharmacy Compact between the Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, since 1 July 2017 the Government has provided $6 per patient to community pharmacies that provide a weekly DAA to patients who meet the eligibility criteria.

To ensure that the funding remains within the allocated budget the service is capped per pharmacy. Under the Pharmacy Compact, additional Community Pharmacy Agreement funding is available for this program in 2018-19, allowing the caps to be increased, providing direct benefit to thousands more patients.

The total number of patients benefiting from the program will rise to around 380,000.

PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson welcomed the increased availability of DAA services able to be provided within community pharmacies.

“Lifting the amount of funding, and supporting services that can be provided by pharmacists such as DAAs will have a significant impact on improving medication adherence, and improve health outcomes for patients who take multiple medicines,” Dr Jackson said.

“There is no doubt that many services provided by pharmacists can improve medicines management, and we look forward to a similar expansion of other existing programs such as Home Medicines Review, Medscheck and other Community Pharmacy Agreement programs in the future.”