Risk of counterfeit meds reduced


Canberra parliament house

Pharmacy stakeholders have welcomed the 2020 Budget’s investment in supply chain reforms and the medicines listing guarantee, but warn there’s more work to do

Acting PSA President Michelle Lynch said the $2.8 billion investment over four years for a new medicines listing guarantee would improve access to medicines for all Australians.

“The guaranteed listing of all new medicines recommended by the PBAC gives patients certainty that new and lifesaving medicines are available on the PBS,” she said.

“The PBS Unique Identification Framework will allow improved medicine safety by allowing the assessment and tracking of medicines when they come into Australia, through to dispensing of medicines to patients. 

“This will support medicine recalls and reduce the potential for counterfeit medicines.”

PSA also acknowledged that the Budget secures funding for the 7CPA, providing $18.3 billion for the delivery of medicines and patient-focused programs for the safe and quality use of medicines.

The Pharmacy Guild, in a statement issued Tuesday night, also noted that the Budget had confirmed the benefits of the 7CPA.

“The 7CPA was negotiated over 12 months between the Commonwealth and the Pharmacy Guild, with the backdrop in 2020 of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a significant boost for all Australian patients who rely on their local pharmacy for medicines, advice and professional pharmacy services,” said national president George Tambassis.

The PSA also highlighted the significant investment in aged care which includes 23,000 home care packages, delivered at a cost of $1.6 billion as well as $5.7 billion to be spent on mental health in 2020-21.

Ms Lynch said these measures lay the groundwork for the future with the opportunity for pharmacists to do more in medicine safety in areas including mental health and aged care. 

“We have continued to call for funding to ensure pharmacists have more time on the ground in aged care to address the issues of chemical restraint and medicines safety more broadly,” she said.

“We will continue to highlight that the challenges posed by medicine use in aged care can only be fixed by pharmacists playing a larger role in protecting residents from the harm caused by overuse and misuse of medicines.”

PSA also welcomed the $22.5m investment in improving the use of antimicrobials supporting the government’s commitment to medicine safety as Australia’s 10th National Health Priority Area, saying it would help to monitor and reduce the threat of antimicrobial resistance in Australia.

In welcoming the Budget, the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia also noted the investment in antimicrobial stewardship.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic currently casts a long shadow, hospital pharmacists continue to raise the alarm regarding the risks of antimicrobial resistance developing and spreading further,” said SHPA chief executive Kristin Michaels.

“Preserving the continued availability of effective antimicrobials is important for Australia’s hospitals and healthcare system and we welcome $22.5m over four years to deliver Australia’s National Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy – 2020 & Beyond.”

Ms Michaels said that COVID-19 has reaffirmed the priority of ensuring Australia’s hospitals are equipped for any contingency.

“Hospital pharmacists are crucial members of care teams ensuring as few Australians as possible experience the worst symptoms of COVID-19, and SHPA welcomes the strong commitment to supporting and resourcing our hospitals and health workforce as the pandemic continues, including $3.3bn for the National Medicines Stockpile to secure access to medical equipment, medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE),” she said.

“These resources extend beyond our shores and, with around 90% of the medicines used to treat Australian patients manufactured overseas, we welcome the inclusion of pharmaceuticals in the $1.3bn Modern Manufacturing Initiative and National Manufacturing Priorities.

“On behalf of our members we look forward to contributing to the $107.2m Supply Chain Resilience Initiative, given Australia’s vulnerable position accounting for less than 2% of the global medicines market.”

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