Pharmacists in demand

Sussan Ley
Sussan Ley

“I want pharmacists in my general practice” Health Minister tells parliament as government lauds its PBS record

Health Minister Sussan Ley has told Federal Parliament she is a strong supporter of co-locating pharmacists in GP clinics.

Addressing the House of Representatives this week, Minister Ley was promoting the Government’s Health Care Homes program for chronically ill patients.

“I’d like to have the pharmacist more involved in my general practice,” Ms Ley said. “Where I live is a low socioeconomic area; I would like to try having a pharmacist here every day, helping people manage their medicines”.

“These things are perfectly possible within the Health Care Homes model”.

“As with our other reform measures, co-design is vital,” the Minister said, referring to the Health Care Homes concept.

“Doctors, nurses, consumers and allied health professionals were part of the design of Health Care Homes. We are now in 10 primary health networks across Australia, rolling out the trials in 200 practices with about 65,000 patients”.

Ms Ley also lauded the government’s record for listing new PBS medicines, in particular highlighting the success of new hepatitis C treatments.

“We have listed three times as many medicines at $4.5 billion compared to Labor, who listed $1 billion worth of medicines and, at some points in their stewardship of the health portfolio, actually refused to list medicines at all because their budget could not pay for it,” she said.

“I want to demonstrate that with an important listing: the biggest ever listing on the PBS was $1 billion for four medicines to cure hepatitis C in Australia—Harvoni, Sovaldi, Daklinza and Ibavyr.

“The four medicines between them comprise 12 weeks of taking the tablets, the treatment, and it actually is a cure. We are the first and probably the only jurisdiction in the world to make available this cure to every single Australian,” she said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the success in new medicines was a result of savings in the 6CPA PBS package.

“We are driving the costs of medicines down through our price disclosure policy in the Sixth community pharmacy agreement,” he said.

“In our first three years, we listed nearly 1,000 new medicines—three times as many as those opposite in their last three years in government.”

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