'Positive, constructive' talks on PBS, Pharmacy Agreement

16 February, 2015

The Abbott Government has given pharmacists, consumers, doctors and medicines manufacturers the opportunity to present their views about the next multi-billion Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA) to ensure patients can continue to access medicines through the PBS.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley hosted the first of a series of discussions as part of the Abbott Government's stated commitment to being open and consultative on health policy.

Negotiations on the CPA will be the sixth renewal of the agreement and the first negotiated under the Abbott Government, with the current agreement signed in 2010 under Labor.

Ley said recent talks were a "positive and constructive start" and thanked all participants for their contribution.

Commitment to consultation

This was another example that the Abbott Government was committed to consulting to ensure it developed well-rounded health policy, she said.

"The Australian Government recognises the important role that community pharmacists and pharmacies play in supporting our health system," Ley said.

"However, the cost of purchasing and subsidising medicines is an expensive exercise for everyone in the supply chain.

"For example, $1.5 billion worth of new medicines were recommended for listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in November.

"And just like our Medicare consultations, we want to ensure all relevant voices are heard ahead of the next Community Pharmacy Agreement as well.  

"That means pharmacists together with consumers, doctors and medicines manufacturers," she said.

"I want to hear from a range of voices about the best ways patients can continue to access medicines when and where they need them at a price both they and taxpayers can afford."

The Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, between the Australian Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild) provides funding of $15.7 billion over five years to community pharmacies from both Government and patient payments for dispensing subsidised PBS medicines and providing other professional pharmacy programmes.