The King Review panel has stressed the confidential nature of information provided to it, in its last message to stakeholders for the year.
Professor Stephen King, Bill Scott and Jo Watson wrote to encourage pharmacies to participate in the Financial Review, highlight the February 2017 release of the Interim Report and reassure as to confidentiality.
“The Panel would also like to confirm that it has been working alone and confidentially for its formative discussions and deliberations in this period,” they write.
“While the Panel is provided support from the Department of Health with secretariat resources and policy expertise as required, we have deliberately kept all parties, including the Department of Health, excluded from this stage of our work.
“This is a temporary break in interactions, to allow the Panel time to appropriately digest and debate the material presented to us, and to fairly deal with the large volume of issues which have raised by individuals and groups across the country.”
The Panel write that they wish for as many responses as possible to the Pharmacy Financial Survey by 16 January 2017, “to add to our data analysis on community pharmacy in Australia today”.
“The aim of this survey is to help us to understand what an efficient pharmacy looks like in Australia. Efficiency has different dimensions, but the scope of this Review is focused on the needs of consumers for access to medicines and their optimal use.
“We need to understand the amounts of remuneration for dispensing, that ensure the stability of the pharmacy sector in different parts of Australia, and for best meeting the needs of the communities across the country.
“To craft the best possible recommendations, the Panel needs to understand the marginal, average, and incremental costs for dispensing and other medicine related activities in a pharmacy.
“The more input we can have on these areas, the better the Panel is able to consider the evidence without potential bias or confounding.
“Can we stress the confidential nature of this exercise includes neither the Panel nor the Department of Health directly handling personal data from individual pharmacies, or having access to what is provided.”
The Interim Report is set to be released in February, and the Panel plans to allow time over the period into late March for further discussions and consultations with stakeholders.
“We seek the best outcome for the viability of pharmacy provision in Australia, for the community, and for ensuring the ongoing implementation of the National Medicines Policy.
“The Panel has been honoured to receive such comprehensive and strong participation from pharmacists and consumers in this process of review to date.
“We seek your ongoing support and patience as we progress to the next phase, and we assure you all that we are working in good faith to deliver high quality analysis and proposals for the future.
“We wish you all the best for a restful holiday period, and will look forward to working with you all over the new year.”