The Guild does not support discounting of the patient co-payment as it is contrary to the concept of universality of the PBS and undermines the purpose of having a consistently applied patient price signal, it said today.
The Guild says it is continuing to point out to the Government the flaws in this policy, which “will provide no net benefit to individuals and families with chronic health conditions requiring a lot of PBS medicines, and which effectively has community pharmacists contributing to the patient’s cost for a PBS medicine,” it says.
Concessional patients who reach the Safety Net—after which they become eligible for free medicines—are entitled to know that the effect of the discount will be to delay their access to free medicines, providing no net financial benefit to them, the Guild says.
It has distributed a brochure to Guild Member pharmacies to provide information to patients.
The brochure explains to consumers that it is the pharmacy which will pay for the cost of the discount.
It also explains why patients may take longer to reach the Safety Net when their copayments are discounted.
“If a Concessional patient takes the $1 discount, you will need to fill an additional eleven prescriptions during the year to access free medicines on the Safety Net,” it says.
“Concessional patients who take the $1 discount must still spend the same total amount during the year to access free medicines on the Safety Net.
“If you take the $1 discount your access to free medicines will start later in the year and the length of time you are eligible for free medicines will be reduced.”