Calls grow to subsidise pharmaceutical care

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is renewing calls to subsidise services by prioritising better consumer access through fairer remuneration for pharmacist delivered services. 

Today, the Prime Minister has confirmed that the 2022 Federal Election will be held on Saturday 21st May.

PSA National President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, demanded that both major parties look to address consumer access to care as a matter of priority for the incoming government saying that the pandemic had underlined the massive challenge placed on the public and pharmacists over the past two years.

“Now, more than ever, is the time to ensure that access to health care remains universal, particularly for the most vulnerable of the population.

Consumers need subsidised access to care at the health setting and their qualified health professional of choice.

“Consumers face out of pocket expenses for the administration of the influenza vaccination under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) if delivered by their pharmacist, whereas, receive subsidies if done at a general practice. It is unacceptable for a consumer not to receive this subsidy for exactly the same service delivered by a qualified health professional in a setting of their choice.

Assoc Prof Freeman said pharmacists are the only allied health provider that government does not remunerate for their time and participation.

“This is unacceptable, and at the end of the day, Australians are losing out,” he said.

“Introducing a Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) payment to pharmacists for administering NIP vaccines, and a separate MBS rebate for pharmacists to be remunerated for participating multidisciplinary case conferences, would increase consumer access to pharmacist skills and expertise.

“If these pay disparities continue to exist, it will have dire consequences on Australia’s healthcare system, ultimately leaving patients out of pocket.”