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There’ll be no harm for community pharmacy under our watch, ALP promises the Guild, as it still waits for word from the Coalition

A Labor government will promise to ensure that the 7CPA results in “no net disadvantage” to community pharmacy, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia says.

In a bulletin sent to members yesterday (29/4), Guild national president George Tambassis said the Guild had undertaken “very high-level dialogue with the Labor Party – including with Mr Shorten himself – in which we have received undertakings that a Shorten Labor Government will have due regard to the impact on pharmacy viability and jobs of any policy proposal that is put forward by the bureaucracy.”

“Labor recognises that community pharmacy needs to be in a position of ‘no net disadvantage’ under the 7CPA,” Mr Tambassis said. “While reform and productivity gains need to considered within the scope of any new Agreement, there should be no net disadvantage overall for pharmacy businesses”.

The Guild had sought a renewed statement from Labor in the wake of the recent attempt to allow double quantity PBS prescriptions.

“Having been briefed on the dual listing fiasco, Labor also acknowledges that future Community Pharmacy Agreements need to be considered as a contract – once in place, no change can be made without both parties agreeing,” Mr Tambassis said.

In contrast to Labor’s stance, the Guild has yet to receive any letters of support from the Coalition, he said.

The Guild asked all parties to reiterate high-level support for the community pharmacy model and to address the double prescribing plan.

“We are yet to receive such letters from the Coalition in this campaign, but we have stressed the urgency to the Liberal Party and the Nationals and we are hopeful of receiving letters from their leadership as soon as possible,” Mr Tambassis said.

The “catastrophic policy of double quantity PBS prescriptions would decimate our sector and send many of our businesses to the wall, as well as having unintended consequences for patients,” he said.

“I am pleased that our advocacy prevented its immediate implementation – but we need certainty about the future beyond the election, and an assurance that no such devastating impact will be countenanced”.

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