SHPA on the front foot against Budget cut

An unheralded aspect of the 2019 Budget has prompted urgent and active discussion over the last fortnight, after the Federal Government announced a revision to public and private hospital pharmacy pricing to be implemented from 1 July 2019.

Yesterday, SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels, along with private hospital representatives, met with the Department of Health in Canberra to discuss the impact on staffing or service provision of the proposed measure, which would reduce wholesale mark-up to Section 85 medicines from the current uncapped 11.1% to 7.52% of the approved ex-manufacturer price (AEMP).

As public hospital pharmacies do not receive any dispensing fees for PBS medicines this could see their revenue cut below that given to community pharmacies.

According to preliminary SHPA estimates, the proposed changes could indicate a significant reduction in funding across hospitals nationally, however this may be revised as further information becomes available.

Ms Michaels says, on behalf of members, SHPA is strongly concerned this represents a reduction in revenue for hospitals who currently invest these funds into clinical pharmacy services.

'The PBS Medicines in Hospitals Program in the early 2000s saw investment into clinical pharmacy services made by the Federal Government as a cost-saving measure to reduce waste of scarce health resources in the primary care sector.

‘We are concerned the impact of the proposed cuts may negate some of the great achievements made by hospital pharmacists in the provision of safe and quality patient care in recent decades.

‘We are also concerned at the short timeline of 1 July 2019 for potential implementation of any new pricing approach, and SHPA plans to advocate to the incoming government to prevent or reduce any negative impacts from this change. We encourage our members to ensure their health service CEO is aware of this planned change, and to stay in touch with jurisdictional representatives as appropriate.'

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