Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement

The second part (clauses 22 to 39) of the agreement concerns amendments to the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA) agreements on authorisations and relocations of pharmacies. Under the National Health Act, the ACPA is responsible for managing the rules for establishing or transferring licences for community pharmacies. For more information on the ACPA rules, please contact the ACPA Secretariat by email at ACPAmail@health.gov.au or by phone at (02) 6289 6848. It is also not uncommon for parliamentary committees to examine aspects of local pharmacy agreements. Thus, in 2015, the Joint Committee on Public Accounts and Statutory Audit re-examined the above-mentioned ANAO report on the fifth Community Convention on Pharmacies. The Rural Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance (RPMA), which was introduced from 1 January 2001, provides ongoing support to pharmacies in rural and remote communities. Recognizing the additional financial burden of maintaining a pharmacy in rural and remote areas, this monthly allowance helps these pharmacies continue to offer quality pharmacy services. Recognizing the key role of this program in achieving the highest possible service standards across the pharmacy network, the agreement put in place incentives to support and encourage all community pharmacies to obtain and maintain QCPP accreditation. The 6CPA allocates approximately $18.9 billion in compensation to community pharmacy and pharmaceutical supply chain support (an additional $372 million is provided for chemotherapy compensation costs). This funding includes $15.5 billion from the Commonwealth and $3.4 billion from patient contributions. 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. These include the Pharmacy ARIA Index, specifically designed to quantify the relative degree of remoteness of community pharmacies across Australia. This index developed by the University of Adelaide combines a general remoteness component, as represented by the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA), with a professional isolation component represented by the road distance to the nearest five (5) pharmacies. After legislating to create the PBS framework, Parliament plays no direct role in the development or approval of the agreement, pharmacy agreements between the Minister of Health and the Guild will come into force through a definition of pbRT. However, Parliament may be asked to consider legislation which gives effect to certain matters in Community pharmacy agreements. For example, in 2015, Parliament passed the National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Bill 2015, which went into effect on 6CPA issues, including the optional one-dollar discount on patient supplements and the continuation of pharmacy location rules. The results of the index are classified into six (6) categories ranging from “Very accessible” (1) to “very remote” (6) and which are used to determine entitlement to rural allowances. This index will be recalculated annually to include new pharmacy sites as of March 31 of each year.

The Pharmaceutical Development Programme was set up to promote the further integration of community pharmacy in the pursuit of quality and the provision of services at a lower cost. A number of initiatives will be funded under this programme, including: the 6CPA was developed following extensive consultations with a number of stakeholders from the pharmaceutical industry, pharmacy and pharmacists, consumers, high-level groups and other organisations. . . .