Owner group tells govt panel that CPA negotiations should stay the same and highlights issues of high-cost meds
Priceline’s Pharmacy Brand Advisory Committee, which represents pharmacist owners across Australia, has written to the King Review panel saying the current negotiations are capably managed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
“As pharmacy owners we have made substantial personal financial investments and the Pharmacy Guild has demonstrated it understands the issues we face in responsibly balancing these financial issues with the delivery of excellent healthcare,” the committee writes in its submission.
It states that widening the negotiations to other groups would be “impractical”.
“If this were to happen Priceline Pharmacy owners would seek representation as one of the largest single brands in the country,” the committee writes.
However evidence shows most pharmacists disagree with the current approach.
Earlier this month, AJP ran a poll asking readers how they felt the CPAs should be negotiated.
A whopping 70% said they want to see all other stakeholders, including the PSA, non-Guild owners, consumer and pharmacy employee groups sitting at the table with the Guild and Government.
Only 16% of respondents said the current arrangements were ideal.
In response to question 16 of the review discussion paper, which asks whether dispensing fee remuneration should be tiered according to complexity, the Priceline committee says this should not occur.
“This committee believes any introduction of tiered dispensary rates would inevitably see a decrease in, or at the very least less emphasis on, service and ultimately professional care for those patients receiving a prescription item at the lower funding level,” it writes.
“All dispensing types are important because pharmacists are often the only professional health care check in between extended gaps in GP visits.”
Another issue the committee highlights is very high-cost medicines, which it says presents an issue that must be urgently addressed.
“The current situation is not sustainable due to the financial impost on small businesses,” they tell the review panel.
“As such our pharmacies are not traditionally geared to handle high-cost medicines as they have a substantial effect on the cashflow of small businesses.
The committee also points out that pharmacists experience “a heightened level of uncertainty” due to high-cost medicine payment rejections from Medicare after submission, a risk that deters many from dispensing such medicines.
The Priceline Pharmacy Brand Advisory Committee notes that the views expressed by the committee in its submissions are those of pharmacists only and do not reflect those of the Priceline Pharmacy brand management. It also notes that there may be differing views held by some individual pharmacists.
Submission for the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation closed on Friday 23 September.