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Financial Boost for Community Pharmacies

July 5, 2023 0 Comments

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), it’s a momentous time for Australia’s robust pharmacy sector.

From 1 July, community pharmacies across the country will experience a financial boost. We wanted to highlight the details of these changes, which include increased payments for dispensing medicines, doubled location allowances for pharmacies outside major cities, cost savings for patients requiring opioid dependency treatment, and assured medicine stocks.

Major Boost to Government Payments

Starting 1 July, all community pharmacies will receive increased payments for dispensing PBS medicines. This change translates to an additional $41,000 per year for the average metropolitan pharmacy. The government payments to community pharmacies will see a 7% increase, resulting in substantial hikes in payments for services like dispensing, handling, administration, and infrastructure.

This 7% indexation boost to pharmacy payments is nearly double the 3.6% indexation of Medicare rebates that also takes effect on 1 July. For a standard script for a ready prepared item, such as atorvastatin, pharmacies will receive an extra $0.85, taking the fee to $12.99 per script. This increase has a significant financial impact across the year, with an average pharmacy in a major metropolitan area receiving an additional $41,229.98, and those in large regional centres, rural towns, remote communities, and very remote communities receiving varying additional amounts.

Support for Regional, Rural, and Remote Pharmacies Doubles

Pharmacies in regional, rural, and remote areas will benefit from the doubling of the total annual budget for the Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance (RPMA), effective from 1 July. This $39.8 million program means that a pharmacy dispensing 50,000 scripts a year in various locations will receive an increase ranging from $3,000 to $32,440, depending on their location.

Gorilla Jobs Blog Financial Boost for Community Pharmacies A Dog In A Picturesque Regional Community City Street
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Win-Win for Pharmacies and Patients on Opioid Dependency Treatment

From 1 July, Australians with opioid dependency will no longer have to pay uncapped out-of-pocket fees for their medication. Instead, they will have access to the medicine they need on the PBS, with the Government paying pharmacies to provide these medications. Patients will simply pay the usual PBS co-payment – up to $30 for everyone with a Medicare card or $7.30 for concession card holders. These co-payments will also contribute towards the PBS Safety Net threshold.

Medicine Availability More Secure

From 1 July, new rules take effect which mean manufacturers of more than 2,900 brands of common medicine are required to hold a minimum of four or six months’ worth of stock on shore in Australia. These minimum stockholding requirements are designed to help protect Australian patients, pharmacists, and prescribers from the impact of global medicines shortages, by ensuring that Australian manufacturers are better placed to continue supply. Find more information about the Financial Boost for Pharmacies.

And so, the financial boost for community pharmacies is a significant step forward in strengthening Australia’s healthcare system. It not only supports the pharmacies but also provides relief to patients, especially those dealing with opioid dependency. The new rules regarding medicine availability further secure the supply chain, ensuring that Australians have access to the medicines they need. This is a testament to the government’s commitment to supporting community pharmacies and ensuring the wellbeing of Australians.

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

Read more about Pharmacists in 2023 Update, Great Regional Places to Work for Pharmacists and The Role of Pharmacists in Community Health and Wellness.

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