Problems for extended dispensing plan

“Stupid” 60-day dispensing push is “dead in the water” say Guild leaders

Leaders of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia believe that events around the Coronavirus pandemic have helped their push to quash the Department of Health’s push for extended dispensing. 

Speaking at the ‘State of Pharmacy’ panel discussion at APP2020 Online today, Guild leaders said the current crisis had exposed the flaws in the policy proposal, disagreements over which has held up Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement negotiations.    

The Guild’s lead 7CPA negotiator and Queensland branch president, Trent Twomey, said he believes “MDQ (maximum dispense quantity, ie. 60 day dispensing) is dead in the water”.

“You can’t have two different arms of the one department saying different things,” Mr Twomey said. “The TGA came out yesterday saying we can only give out one box, dispense one months medicine, then you’ve got another arm of health coming out and saying, gee you ought to give out two. Those two things can’t be true at the same time”.

John Dowling, president of the Guild’s Tasmanian branch agreed, saying: “One of the only positives, I suppose, to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, is that it has shown that giving people greater quantities leads to stockpiling and can cause other problems.

I feel much more optimistic in the last week or so with our discussions with government we may be successful in stopping this particularly stupid measure,” he said.

Natalie Willis, WA branch vice-president, said the PBAC policy was not based on real world situations.

“You can’t make a policy that only applies when everything is smooth sailing. You have to consider the worst case scenario,” she said.

“Everything we said could happen with this problematic plan has proven to be the case, and if this policy had been in place now the outcomes would’ve been catastrophic both from a patient outcome and health care point of view, and it also would’ve completely collapsed the supply chain”.

Mr Twomey said if the Guild hadn’t been “strong in blocking that interim PBAC recommendation last year, it would’ve resulted in catastrophic drug shortages now”.



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