Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation

During negotiations for the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA) in 2015, the Australian Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia made a commitment to conduct an independent Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation (the Review). A Final Report was provided to the Minister for Health.

Page last updated: 04 May 2018

Australian Government Response to the Review

The Government response to the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation was released by the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, on 3 May 2018.

In releasing the Government’s response, Minister Hunt gratefully acknowledged the work of the Review Panel and the input of all organisations and individuals who contributed to the Review.

The independent Review Panel conducting the Review presented its Final Report to the Minister for Health.

The Final Report provides the Panel’s recommendations on consumers' continued access to affordable medicines, future remuneration, regulation and other arrangements that apply to pharmacy and wholesalers for the dispensing and supply of medicines and other services provided under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

About the Review

A panel of three independent expert reviewers undertook the Review to provide recommendations on future remuneration, regulation (including Pharmacy Location Rules), and other arrangements that apply to pharmacy and wholesalers for the dispensing and supply of medicines and other services, including the preparation of infusions or injections for chemotherapy, provided under the PBS. The Panel's focus was to ensure consumers have reliable and affordable access to medicines.

Terms of Reference

In making its recommendations, the Review Panel considered issues raised during its consultation process within the context of its Terms of Reference.

Review Panel Members

On 24 November 2015, the then Minister for Health announced the three members of the independent Panel for the Review, together with its Terms of Reference. They were Professor Stephen King (Chair), Ms Jo Watson and Mr Bill Scott.

The Review Panel members were appointed on the basis of their extensive pharmacy, economic, policy and consumer representation expertise, to ensure a process leading to positive outcomes for pharmacists and consumers.

A brief introduction to each of the Review Panel members, and the Messages from the Chair, Panel and Department of Health, are now located on the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation - Review Panel and Messages page.

Stages of the Review

Stage 1 – Bilateral Meetings (December 2015 – March 2016)

The first stage of consultation for the Review was a series of face-to-face meetings with key industry and consumer stakeholders to inform the development of a Discussion Paper. Stakeholders included a range of organisations across the pharmaceutical supply chain including, but not limited to, consumer, pharmacy, wholesaler and health practitioner groups.

Stage 2 – Discussion Paper (July 2016)

A Discussion Paper was released in July 2016, along with an invitation for written submissions to the Review. An online questionnaire also provided an additional mechanism for responses to core issues raised in the Discussion Paper.

The Discussion Paper reflects the Review Panel’s discussions with, and input from, a broad range of stakeholders and representative bodies from pharmacy, wholesaling, hospital and consumer sectors. The aim of the Discussion Paper was to stimulate discussion on both the current arrangements, and the way the community pharmacy sector could look in the future.

Stage 3 – National Consultation Process (August – September 2016)

From 1 August 2016, a national consultation process was held across capital cities and regional areas of Australia. The consultation process provided a valuable opportunity for organisations and individuals to participate in the discussion of pharmacy issues with the Review Panel.

To support submissions to the Discussion Paper, a round of public forums was held in metropolitan and regional centres across Australia from 1 August to 7 September 2016. Forums were held in Perth (1 August), Adelaide (2 August), Broken Hill (4 August), Melbourne (9 August), Hobart (10 August), Launceston (11 August), Canberra (15 August), Wagga Wagga (16 August), Albury-Wodonga (17 August), Cairns (22 August), Brisbane (23 August), Sydney (25 August), Broome (29 August), Darwin (30 August) and Alice Springs (1 September).

Public consultations for the Discussion Paper culminated with a live national webcast, broadcast from Canberra on 7 September 2016.

The webcast provided an opportunity for stakeholders and consumers to join the national conversation and express their views regarding the future of pharmacy to the Review Panel through the Livechat facility and #pharmacyreview.

A printable information brochure was also made available to encourage responses to the Discussion Paper. The brochure provided a convenient way to share information and discuss the Review with colleagues, patients, family or friends.

Information Brochure - Have your say (PDF 241 KB)Information Brochure - Have your say (Word 23 KB)

Submissions to the Discussion Paper

All non-confidential submissions received in response to the Discussion Paper can be viewed on the 'Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation - Submissions to the Review' page.

Stage 4 – Interim Report (June 2017)

The fourth stage of consultation commenced following the release of the Interim Report in June 2017.

The Interim Report presents the independent Review Panel’s findings and options for reform arising from the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation.

The Panel’s vision underpinning the Interim Report is for an integrated and sustainable community pharmacy sector, which is adaptive to the inevitable changes in health care, given Australia’s ageing population, rapid advances in technology and ongoing PBS reform.

The issues presented in the Interim Report are complex, with the potential to impact significantly on community pharmacy.

Professor King recorded a special video message on behalf of the Review Panel in which he presented an introduction to the key issues and reform options presented in the Interim Report.

Submissions to the Review’s Interim Report

Public submissions in response to the Interim Report were invited via the Department’s Consultation Hub, where interested parties were given the option of either uploading a written submission or providing a short response to one or more of the reform options presented in the Interim Report.

The Review Panel welcomed the submission of feedback and additional insights in relation to the options outlined in the Interim Report. This information supported the Panel’s development of its Final Report to the Minister.

All non-confidential submissions to the Review are available for viewing via the Department’s Consultation Hub Submissions page.

Responses to the online questionnaire are available for viewing via the Department’s Consultation Hub Published Responses page.

During the public submission window, the Review Panel consulted with peak health consumer, pharmacy and industry bodies who are representative of all participants in the pharmacy supply chain. These bilateral discussions provided the Panel broad feedback on the reform options presented in the Interim Report and the provision of any new evidence relevant to the Panel’s development of its Final Report.

Stage 5 – Final Report (September 2017)

The Review Panel provided its findings and recommendations in a Final Report to the Minister for Health.

The Final Report provides the Panel’s recommendations on future remuneration, regulation and other arrangements that apply to pharmacy and wholesalers for the dispensing and supply of medicines and other services, including the preparation of infusions or injections for chemotherapy, provided under the PBS.

Pharmacy Financial Survey

In committing to making evidence-based recommendations, the Review Panel commissioned comprehensive financial analysis of the community pharmacy sector. To inform this analysis, the Panel commissioned a targeted survey to directly obtain relevant financial data from a broad cross-section of Australian community pharmacies.

In response to concerns amongst some pharmacy owners regarding the intended purpose of the Review’s Pharmacy Financial Survey, the Review Panel released a message clarifying its purpose in conducting the survey and how the data collected will be used to inform its recommendations:

To assist prospective respondents in their decision to participate in the survey a copy of the survey questions was also made available:

You may view a report of this work via the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation – Commissioned Research page.

Commissioned Research

In keeping with the Review Panel’s commitment to a transparent Review process, the reports of all finalised research work commissioned by the Panel have been made available for viewing.

You may view the reports of this work via the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation – Commissioned Research page.

For more Information

Media enquiries: News or telephone 0412 132 585.
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