Patients must have the facts: Guild

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Be honest about the true cost of the $1 discount, Guild urges pharmacists

Australian pharmacists must be honest about the impact of the $1 PBS co-pay discount on their chances of reaching the safety net threshold, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia believes.

In an article in its member newsletter Forefront, the Guild says “patients who use multiple medicines in the course of a year and reach the PBS Safety Net, are entitled to know that the optional $1 discount on their script co-payment delivers them no net financial benefit and delays their access to free medicine”.

The Guild was recently under fire in News Ltd newspapers for misleading patients into thinking they will be worse off by taking the discount.

These sources blamed the Guild for causing “the low 30% take up of the discount in the first month since its introduction”.

In a letter to News Ltd, the Guild responded by saying the discount is a budget cut aimed at extracting savings as a result of Concessional patients who take the discount having to fill more scripts before they reach the Safety Net.

“The Guild and pharmacies (including some Chemist Warehouse pharmacies) have simply been informing patients of this fact, with many of them deciding the discount is of no net benefit to them,” the letter states.

The Guild says it is encouraging its members to “continue informing their patients of the facts in relation to the optional $1 discount”.

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