A third of pharmacists fear for their job or business


young pharmacist or doctor with "talk to the hand" body language

More than 30% of pharmacists are “seriously worried” about losing their job or their business as a result of price disclosure, an AJP poll has found

We asked AJP readers how price disclosure has affected them in the almost 10 years since it was first implemented: and the results weren’t pretty.

The most common response, selected by 42% of readers, was “it’s hurt this pharmacy a lot”.

This was followed by “I’m seriously worried about losing my business/job as a result,” at 34%.

Worryingly, 7% of respondents said they had already lost a job or their business thanks to price disclosure.

The results coincide with the release of a Grattan Institute report this week, Cutting a better drug deal, which argued that Australia is “overpaying for generic medicines that are no longer covered by patients” and that price disclosure did not go far or fast enough.

The report attracted significant criticism from around the pharmacy and pharmaceutical sectors.

Pharmacy Guild – Victorian branch president Anthony Tassone told the AJP today that price disclosure is clearly already having enough of a major negative impact on community pharmacy.

“There’s no doubt that the ongoing effects of PBS reform and price disclosure, whilst making the PBS more sustainable for the Government, pose a risk that if further cuts are implemented the situation could become unsustainable for pharmacies and the manufacturing sector,” he says.

“The Grattan Institute report is unbalanced and misleading, and another chapter in a series of reports that just miss the point.

“It takes a small subset of some 19 molecules – that’s less than 5% of the total PBS list – and does not acknowledge the significant savings that PBS reform and price disclosure have already delivered to the health budget, which are forecast to be some $20 billion during this Sixth Agreement term.

“It’s unclear whether the Grattan Institute is making recommendations to expand the role of pharmacists as some sort of offset for deregulation of the sector, but there’s little point giving greater responsibility to a health care professional workforce if we can’t sustain the necessary infrastructure.

“The Grattan report recommendations on benchmarking are lurching Australia towards inferior systems that do not deliver the patient outcomes of our current, world-class system.”

Mr Tassone also called on the government to implement the 6CPA in full.

“When the Guild signed the Sixth Agreement with the Australian Government, it was a package to deliver continuing and new programs to expand the role of pharmacists in primary and preventative care.

“The programs and funding must be delivered in full as a package, so that pharmacists can best help their patients and the health care system.”

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