The Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement
The first EU agreement on pharmacies included a package of remuneration for pharmacists and a package of structural reforms to promote better distribution of pharmacies across Australia (through rules limiting the opening of new pharmacies) and to encourage the closure or merger of pharmacies located in underserved areas. The scope of subsequent agreements was extended to fund pharmacy programs (e.g. B programs to assist patients in the management of their medications) and other matters. According to reports, interest groups have advised the government on how 7CPA can maintain affordability, improve access to PBS drugs, and provide effective pharmacy services. Negotiations with the signatories will take into account the private sector, although the traditional and pharmaceutical media have reported on some topics that are thought to be points of difference. 6CPA provides approximately $18.9 billion in compensation to community pharmacy and pharmaceutical supply chain support (with an additional $372 million for chemotherapy compensation costs). This funding includes $15.5 billion from the Commonwealth and $3.4 billion from patient contributions. The maddocks team was led by partner Andrew Whiteside and included special investigator Paul Ellis and lawyer Xinyu Zhang. Andrews has been pursuing this work in conjunction with community pharmacy agreements for many years, having also advised the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement and the community service obligation of pharmaceutical wholesaler agreements. In 1981, an Independent Drug Benefits Tribunal (IRBP) was established to determine the remuneration of pharmacies for dispensing PBS drugs. In 1989, the PBRT proposed amendments to reduce the remuneration of pharmacy owners (p.
36). This triggered a dispute between the government and the guild over the calculation of remuneration, which was settled by the signing, on 6 December 1990, of the first community contract between the guild and the Minister of Age, Family and Health Services. The National Health Act 1953 was amended in 1990 to require the PBRT to bring into force such an agreement between the Minister and the Guild (or any other organization representing the majority of licensed pharmacists) (section 98BAA). If such an agreement is not in force, the PBRT determines the remuneration of the pharmacy for the supply of PBS medicinal products (Article 98B(1)). Since 1990, the remuneration received by pharmacists for dispensing pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) medicines and the rules for the establishment of pharmacies have been governed by a series of agreements between the Australian Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild). Over time, these agreements have grown to include professional pharmacy programs and services. In addition to these and other initiatives, the agreement sets the price paid to pharmacists for dispensing medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which is expected to amount to $16 billion in Commonwealth spending over the five-year term of the agreement. Negotiations on the Seventh Community Agreement on Pharmacies (7CPA) started in 2019.
The government originally intended to conclude the negotiations by the end of 2019, but these will continue until 2020. In addition to the guild, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (which represents all pharmacists, not just pharmacy owners) will be a co-signatory to the 7CPA.