Pharmacy review places focus on consumer needs
The Consumers Health Forum welcomes the discussion paper on the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation and the emphasis it places on identifying consumer needs.
“The review panel states that the review is “primarily a consumer-focused review that aims to identify which services and programs consumers value from community pharmacy,” the Chief Executive Officer of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said today.
“The Consumers Health Forum acknowledges the pivotal role community pharmacies play in health care. Community pharmacy is a critical part of the health service landscape in Australia, including our rural and regional towns.
“We have advocated a strengthened and wider role for pharmacies in primary care generally, but particularly how this can occur in an integrated way with general practice and the Government’s wider plans for primary health care reform.
“We welcome the review panel’s willingness to canvass widely the views raised by CHF and other bodies for reform of community pharmacy arrangements to ensure consumer perspectives play an effective part in determining pharmacy policy.
“A central issue over the years has been whether the agreement for community pharmacy, now costing $20 billion over five years, should remain the preserve alone of the Government and the Pharmacy Guild, representing owners of pharmacies.
“These arrangements have been associated with the continued maintenance of the location rules widely viewed as anti-competitive and a potential barrier to consumer focused service development and innovation, and with significant issues concerning the funding of pharmacy as found by the Australian National Audit Office.
“It is a matter of good public policy that we can now review why such an important sector as community pharmacy should be protected from significant change to improve outcomes for consumers.
“The Consumers Health Forum has welcomed the Government’s step to institute this review and has confidence that the panel will look to recommend improvements to pharmacy in the best interests of all Australians,” Ms Wells said.
“CHF encourages the wider community and our members to engage in the panel’s consultations. In addition CHF has been funded to undertake targeted consultations with our members and consumer stakeholders to inform the panel’s deliberations.