To inform our ongoing advocacy and feedback to the Department about this policy, PSA has also established a dedicated contact for members to raise concerns and issues directly with our team.
If you have any examples of unintended consequences or issues as a result of the 60-day prescription policy, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will help gather evidence on the impact on the ground.
If you are concerned about the clinical appropriateness of 60-day prescriptions – contact the prescriber in the first instance.
If you need professional advice – please call the PSA Pharmacist-to-Pharmacist advice line where one of our expert senior pharmacists will be able to help.
The Pharmacist-to-Pharmacist advice line is available exclusively to PSA members, providing confidential, independent and specialised advice to support and guide your practice, referencing the most up-to-date standards, guidelines and resources developed by PSA and regulatory bodies.
Contact the Pharmacist-to-Pharmacist Advice Line on 1300 369 772 – Option 5, between 8.30am and 5.00pm AEST Monday to Friday, or via P2Padvice@psa.org.au.
Stage 1 includes 92 medicines (256 PBS items) and represents roughly one third of all the medicines proposed to be made eligible for 60-day prescriptions. The 256 PBS items include different dosage forms and strengths of Stage 1 medicines.
The list of the Stage 1 medicines is available here.
Australian Pharmacist has published a thorough practice update.
Members who require further support to transition to 60-day dispensing have access to PSA’s dedicated Pharmacist-to-Pharmacist Advice Line for professional and practice support.
1300 369 772
- Are you prepared for 60-day dispensing? Australian Pharmacist
- Pharmacy kit – 60-day prescriptions for PBS medicines – Department of Health
- PBS medicines eligible for 60-day dispensing – Department of Health
PSA is also continuing our efforts on ensuring there is meaningful reinvestment into our profession to enable pharmacists to continue to deliver high quality healthcare to Australians.
This is no doubt a challenging and emotional time for many of us. Please continue to look after yourself and others around you. If you require support, the Pharmacists’ Support Service is also available on 1300 244 910.
Securing pharmacy’s future
14 July 2023
We have so far met with around 30 MPs and senators, as well as the Department of Health. In these meetings, we raised our concerns about the 60-day dispensing policy and aged care program, and put forward recommendations on away forward and how meaningful reinvestment can be undertaken to maintain viability of the community pharmacy network.
The way forward must acknowledge the:
- real impact of this policy on our profession, patients and health system
- essential role that community pharmacies and pharmacists play in primary care
Our message and conversations are clear, that the reinvestment should support pharmacy programs with a focus on accessible care and safe and effective use of medicines. This can include services such as triage and referral/minor ailments programs, removing caps on medication reviews and DAAs, and allowing pharmacists to have greater autonomy to utilise our clinical judgements.
The proposed reinvestment can only be considered meaningful if the needs of the vulnerable and specific patient groups are addressed. These include older Australians on multiple medications, patients on dose administration aids, people living in rural and remote communities, First Nations people, clients receiving Home Care Packages and people living with disability and chronic debilitating health conditions.
The implementation or uptake of any new programs may take time, and therefore safeguards must be in place to maintain viability of the community pharmacy network and ensure good patient care through optimising the role of pharmacists in primary healthcare delivery. As such, there may be a need to review and increase dispensing and AHI fees, or the acceleration of new service implementation.
On aged care, we continue to advocate for flexibility in service administration and delivery, and maximising pharmacists’ time on ground to deliver resident-level and facility-level duties to meet the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
We have also raised our strong concern that the current proposal (through community pharmacy however without any remuneration for pharmacy engagement) will see significant implementation challenge in terms of uptake and equity. We are continuing our conversations with the Department, with more meetings to come.
Dr Fei Sim FPS
PSA National President
Support us to support you – Update on Senate Estimates
2 June 2023
Last week, the Senate’s Community Affairs Committee held hearings to discuss the Federal Budget measures impacting our profession. I wanted to provide you with an update on these proceedings and highlight the important role that the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) plays in advocating for pharmacists like you.
Alongside our members, PSA has been working tirelessly, in collaboration with other pharmacy organisations who share similar concerns, to represent your interests and to ensure your voice is heard. It was clear that our concerns are being heard.
Recent policy developments highlight the importance of unity and strong representation for all pharmacists. In crucial times like this, it is vital that our profession stays united in solidarity. As PSA’s National President, I am absolutely committed to advocating for your interests. I invite you to join me, our PSA elected officials, members and team, in our shared mission to enable pharmacists to be at the forefront of healthcare in Australia.
During the hearings, the committee questioned officials from the Department of Health regarding various policy measures, including the proposed 60-day dispensing, on-site aged care pharmacist program, and community pharmacy reinvestment.
Senate Estimates highlighted the impact of these proposed policies, with Senators referencing conversations with pharmacists. The discussions covered a wide range of topics, such as medicine shortages, pharmacy viability (especially in regional areas), aged care services, medicines wastage, safety considerations, and policy implementation approaches.
Department heads were asked to respond to a number of questions on topics ranging from medicine shortages, the viability of pharmacies – particularly in regional areas – aged care, medicines wastage, impact on safety, “reinvestment” and policy implementation approach. Senator Anne Ruston questioned the consultation and decision-making process, and the $1.6 billion loss in co-payments.
Much of the testimony explored details already on the public record, however additional insight was provided in some areas. For example, on aged care, the Department was asked to reflect on concerns that pharmacies have been providing DAAs to residential aged care facilities cross-subsidised by dispensing remuneration and that this may no longer be sustainable. Department of Health Deputy Secretary Penny Shakespeare noted that it is not an expectation that pharmacies provide free services to aged care facilities and that there is a willingness to consider ways to manage this impact.
In relation to 60-day dispensing, the Department has also:
- Confirmed a substantial component of the “reinvestment” in community pharmacy will be used to top-up budgeted funds for professional services within the 7CPA.
- Recognised there may be an increase in medicines wastage, but have described the likely impact as small in the context of the scale of the PBS and that they intend to monitor this via the RUM program.
In response to questions from ACT independent Senator David Pocock, the Department of Health described some of the remuneration and transition arrangements for opioid dependence program:
- Patients will pay a PBS co-payment for the medicine (i.e., methadone or buprenorphine), but be subject to no additional charges.
- Like other S100 HSD medicines, community pharmacies will be paid a markup, dispensing fee, and Dangerous Drug fee for the dispensing of this item.
- A staged supply fee of $5.66 (including a $0.97 consumables allowance) will be provided for each dose provided by a pharmacist.
- The Department is exploring transition arrangements so that existing prescriptions can be used for a period following the program’s start date.
- The Department is exploring some transition arrangements for availability of OTP medicines for private clinics, but reaffirmed the policy intention is to reduce out-of-pocket patient costs.
On other measures discussed:
- Following Minister Butler’s announcement of a scope of practice review for all health professionals, Department of Health Deputy Secretary Penny Shakespeare provided the committee with an update on preparation for the review. The Department is currently preparing the Terms of Reference for the review which will take 12-18 months to complete.
- In response to questions regarding vaping reforms, Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy indicated that non-prescription supply of nicotine-vapes for smoking cessation by pharmacists is a policy option the TGA is considering.
Please let me emphasise that the momentum of our advocacy efforts must continue if we want to ensure there is meaningful reinvestment into our profession as a pathway forward, to maintain the career prospects of our pharmacists and the viability of the community pharmacy network. Pharmacists can do more, the health system and our patients need pharmacists to do more, but pharmacists can’t do more for less.
As a valued member of our esteemed FB ECP group, I thank you for being part of our dynamic community that is shaping the future of pharmacy. Your dedication and passion are instrumental in driving the progress of our profession.
For those who are already PSA members, I appreciate your continued support and commitment to your professional growth. Your membership enables PSA to provide you with exclusive resources, networking opportunities, and tailored support to help you thrive as an early career pharmacist.
To those who haven’t yet joined us, I invite you to embark on this exciting journey with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA). Renew your membership today or join us for the first time by visiting PSA Membership or emailing email@example.com. Together, lets forge a better future for our profession.
If you have any questions or any feedback, feel free to reach out to our team on 1300 369 772.
Dr Fei Sim FPS
PSA National President