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60-Day Dispensing: A Win but also a Concern?

May 25, 2023 0 Comments

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, policy changes often bring about mixed reactions from different stakeholders.

One such policy, the 60-day dispensing rule in pharmacies, has been hailed as a win for patients, but has also raised concerns among pharmacists. We wanted to highlight the implications of this policy from both perspectives.

Understanding the 60-Day Dispensing Policy

The 60-day dispensing policy, recently implemented by the Australian government, allows pharmacies to dispense up to 60 days’ worth of medication for more than 320 medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This effectively doubles the amount of medicine a pharmacy can dispense to a patient at one time, from the previous limit of a 28- or 30-day supply. The policy is intended to make medicines cheaper and easier to access, particularly for patients with chronic conditions.

The Patient Perspective

From the patient’s perspective, the 60-day dispensing policy is a significant win. As highlighted by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the policy can save patients up to $180 a year on medications for chronic conditions such as heart disease and hypertension. It also reduces the number of trips patients need to make to the pharmacy, offering greater convenience, particularly for those with mobility issues or those living in remote areas.

The Pharmacist Perspective

While the policy is beneficial for patients, it has raised concerns among pharmacists. Some pharmacists, particularly those in rural areas, worry about potential stock shortages due to the increased quantity of medication being dispensed at one time. They also express concern about the impact on their businesses, as fewer patient visits could lead to reduced retail sales. These concerns highlight the need for careful consideration and support for pharmacies to ensure the policy’s implementation does not inadvertently harm those providing essential healthcare services.

The General Practitioner Perspective

General practitioners (GPs) have also weighed in on the new policy. The RACGP has expressed support for the 60-day dispensing rule, noting that it could reduce administration time and free up GPs to focus more on patient care. They also point out that the policy aligns with expert advice and is in the best interests of patients.

Gorilla Jobs Blog 60 Day Dispensing A Win But Also A Concern Patient Putting A Medicine Pill In Their Hand With More Medication And An Orange Fruit In The Background
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels

Balancing Patient Benefits and Pharmacist Concerns

While the 60-day dispensing policy brings clear benefits for patients, it’s also important to address the concerns raised by pharmacists. This could involve providing additional support for pharmacies, such as assistance with stock management, or implementing measures to ensure rural pharmacies are not adversely affected. Ongoing dialogue and collaboration between the government, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers will be key to ensuring the policy achieves its intended benefits without unintended negative consequences.

The 60-day dispensing policy in pharmacies is a significant development in Australian healthcare. While it offers clear benefits for patients, it also underscores the importance of considering all perspectives when implementing healthcare policies. As the policy is rolled out, ongoing review and dialogue will be essential to ensure it meets its goals of improving patient access to medications while also supporting the vital role of pharmacies in our healthcare system.

Find out more about the 60-day dispensing, the RACGP statement and the Pharmacist point of view. And similarly, read more about The Role of Pharmacists in Community Health and Wellness and The Role of Pharmacists in Medical Cannabis Dispensing and Education in Australia.

Whether you’re a pharmacist seeking a new opportunity or exploring other areas of pharmacy practice, Gorilla Jobs can help you find the right position that aligns with your personal and professional goals. We work closely with you to understand your needs and aspirations and connect you with the most suitable job opportunities available. Reach out to us today if you have any questions and would like to discuss opportunities!

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as a general overview of the topic and should not be construed as professional or medical advice.