Guild working on hep C cash flow problems

The Guild says it is continuing to work with stakeholders following the revelation that a large minority of pharmacies may not supply the expensive, newly-listed Hepatitis C drugs to patients for economic reasons.

Last week the AJP reported on the results of a reader survey which found that 22% of respondents were not providing the drugs at all.

“I’d like to hear from pharmacies enrolled in the Abbvie Pharmacy Program how it is going with regard to cash flow and supply of these life-saving drugs,” consultant pharmacist Debbie Rigby commented.

“Since 1 March, the Guild has been working with many parties to address the immediate issues that our members face in dispensing high-cost hepatitis C medicines,” a spokesperson from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia says.

“Both the Department of Human Services (Medicare) and the ATO have cooperated in managing their claims and payments processes so that a pharmacy’s cash-flow should not be compromised. Symbion has also changed its trading terms to be consistent with that of the other wholesalers.

“The Guild continues to be advised on unexpected logistical problems, noting that these can occur with any medicine.

“Unfortunately, the high-cost of the hep C medicines exaggerates the impact of these problems and the ability to remedy them and can cause problems for patients and prescribers as well as for pharmacists.

“Manufacturers have also taken on board the issues that community pharmacies face as exemplified by AbbVie’s Pharmacy Program to support dispensing Viekira PAK and Viekira PAK-RBV.

 “It is not unreasonable to expect more higher cost medicines to be listed on the PBS for supply through community pharmacies. We continue to work with the Government and other stakeholders to resolve this problem in the longer term.

“This is an issue the Guild will be pursuing in the Pharmacy Review. The Guild has worked with government, wholesalers and manufacturers to reduce the impact on pharmacies’ cash flow, but still continues to be an issue due to the cost of these medicines and the lack of margin ($70 on a $22K medicine) and there is a need in the longer term to find a more sustainable supply chain model for these very high cost medicines.”

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