Hunt: “modest” progress for risk share, location rules

Greg Hunt speaks to the media at APP2017

Speaking at APP2017, the Minister for Health addressed location rules, risk share arrangements and more

Minister Greg Hunt addressed delegates on Thursday morning in opening the conference on the Gold Coast.

He reaffirmed the Federal Government’s “rock solid commitment” to the PBS, but acknowledged that there were some “difficult” issues to solve regarding remuneration.

“I know this is a challenging topic. The PBS is something that is about dealing with … new medicines coming through, and making sure we’re able to provide those.”

Minister Hunt also addressed remuneration and risk share arrangements, responding to the Pharmacy Guild’s call for an $82 million reimbursement to pharmacies due to 6.5 million shortfall in prescription volumes over 2015-16.

“I know, I hear how absolutely important this is from [Guild representatives], and each and every one of you. I want to repeat, I absolutely hear how fundamentally important those things are,” he said.

“The progress externally and internally has been very good. The PM has been exceptionally supportive. It’s the job of those who count the beans to challenge every minister but my view is that working with [everyone] we will find an outcome on location [rules] and risk share to strengthen community pharmacy.”

Minister Hunt added regarding location rules: “While I’m not in a position to make an announcement today, I’m absolutely sympathetic and will address it sometime soon.

“We’re hoping to achieve something well before the middle of the year. We’ve found a great discussion partner with George Tambassis, and the Guild.

“They’re very effective but also whilst driving forward the case for pharmacy, but also working within the bounds of what is possible.

“There are a series of things to address. One of these things of course is the question of the $600m for community pharmacy programs which are either new or expanded, so clause 6 of the 6CPA. We’re working very positively on that front.

“Secondly, is modest progress on risk share. We’re working to get a [positive result] but there are reasonable expectations around that. But I am very optimistic.”

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