The numbers are in

Research is continuing to determine the clinical and financial efficacy of MedsChecks, Department says, as it releases the latest figures on uptake of the Pain MedsCheck trial program

The final report into the redesigned Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement MedsCheck programs is expected in the first half of 2020, according to Department of Health responses to parliamentary questions.

The Department recently release figures and other details in response to Senate Estimates questions on notice regarding the Chronic Pain MedsCheck trial and the ongoing MedsCheck and Diabetes MedsCheck programs.

Senator Stirling Griff (Centre Alliance, SA) had asked for the latest figures and information on funding, research and evidence of outcomes from the MedsCheck programs. The Department’s response was posted last week (12 December).

Among the information provided were the following:

  • For the 2018-19 financial year, $26.2 million was paid to service providers for the MedsCheck
    program and $10.4 million was paid to service providers for the Diabetes MedsCheck program.
  • Total funding committed to the Chronic Pain MedsCheck trial over the life of the trial
    is over $21.1 million. The expenditure is not comparable with the MedsCheck program funding
    across financial years, as this is a trial, not an ongoing community pharmacy program.
  • As at October 2019, there were approximately 7,500 patients recruited in the Chronic Pain
    MedsCheck Trial across all trial sites (main and evaluation).
  • As at October there were approximately 1,700 patients recruited in the evaluation sites. An
    extension in recruitment for evaluation sites has been agreed until 30 November 2019 with the
    aim of achieving 2,400 patients.

The Department said it had engaged an external consultant to undertake an evaluation of the redesigned 6CPA community pharmacy programs, with a final report expected to be delivered in the first half of 2020.

This followed from an initial evaluation which concluded that “the evidence available, inclusive of a systematic literature review, did not allow a conclusive determination to be made with regard to the clinical and cost-effectiveness of MedsChecks or Diabetes MedsChecks performed by a pharmacist,” the Department said.

“The evaluation report further concluded that to make a robust assessment of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of MedsChecks and Diabetes MedsCheck, further research was required”.

Pharmacies participating in the Chronic Pain MedsCheck program were being paid $500 each, the Department said. This was additional funding to the $21 million, as it would commence in the 2019/20 financial year. 

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