Pharmacy facing “unprecedented” stock management issues: Guild
Community pharmacies are facing “arguably unprecedented challenges” in effectively managing their stock, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia believes.
With a large number of F1 medicines facing first time cuts of 5% from 1 April, combined with very large catch-up price reductions to combination medicines, stock management will be at a premium, Guild executive director David Quilty says.
Writing in Guild newsletter Forefront, Quilty says the impact of these regulatory moves will be further compounded when, from 1 October, originator brands of drugs that have been F2 for more than three years will be excluded from the weighted average price calculations for the first time.
This will result in a further acceleration in the ratcheting down of the prices of off-patent medicines.
“Unless pharmacies can find ways to minimise their stock on-hand at the higher pre 1 April prices, their levels of PBS reimbursement for these medicines will be significantly less than the prices they have paid to purchase them, further exacerbating the impact of the price cuts,” he says.
“It is therefore disappointing that all of the details of these significant, new 1 April price reductions were not released earlier, giving pharmacies sufficient time to work constructively with wholesalers and medicine suppliers in managing the transition to the new prices”.
The Guild believes that manufacturers should work with pharmacies to minimise the amount of higher-priced stock stranded in pharmacies, including by supplying medicines in the lead-up to 1 April at post 1 April prices, Quilty says.
“A number of generic medicine companies have already committed to this responsible and pragmatic approach and the Guild asks that the remainder follow suit”.
In addition, the Guild is concerned that the recent listing of high-cost Hepatitis C drugs will also proving challenging for pharmacies.
The exceptionally high cost of these medicines (over $22,000 for Harvoni, over $19,000 for Sovaldi and nearly $8,000 for Daklinza) has the potential to severely impact the cash-flow of community pharmacies, Quilty says.
“The Guild is concerned that pharmacies, which are being asked to supply these medicines may be forced to take out expensive bank overdrafts making it prohibitive to dispense them to patients”.
The Guild is urging the government to “urgently address’ these issues.