Wholesalers not ‘thrown under the bus’: Guild

George Tambassis from the Pharmacy Guild signs the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement as Health Minister Sussan Ley looks on

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says it did not “throw the wholesalers under the bus” during 6CPA negotiations.

Professor Stephen King, chair of the Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation review panel said, at the Pharmacy Connect conference in Sydney, that this was an accusation put to him by wholesaler representatives during the review’s consultation process.

However, the claim was denied by Guild national president George Tambassis, who quickly asserted to conference delegates on behalf of the Guild’s negotiating team that this was not the case.

“In relation to claims we ‘threw the wholesalers under the bus’ I can assure you that this was not the case in this or in previous agreements,” he said. “This is really a crazy term.”

Tambassis said it was a fact that the wholesalers didn’t get the CSO increase they sought in the 6CPA, but this was not due to bad faith on the part of the Guild, which had been approached by the wholesalers, and was in consultation with them during the negotiation process.

The primary issue was the stalled CSO fee, which remained at 5CPA levels, while pharmacy scored a number of important funding boosts—particularly the new pharmacy AHI fee, although PBS discounts opposed by the Guild were also included in the agreement.

Professor King was critical of wholesaler arrangements in his presentation, saying he was “not sure” current wholesalers’ logistical and financial arrangements were working, and describing the CSO as “an odd policy”.

These issues were highlighted by the Hepatitis C medicine issue, where all stakeholders were trying to pass of risk for carrying and supplying these medicines to each other, he said.

Consideration should be given to including the wholesalers and other stakeholders in future community pharmacy agreement negotiations, he suggested.

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