SHPA welcomes strong and sustainable focus on medicines and public hospitals

A continued focus on supporting sustainable access to new and existing high-value medicines while affirming support for public hospitals and equity of healthcare access in rural and regional Australia were welcome aspects of the 2018 Health Budget, the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) said this evening.

Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says SHPA shares the Federal Government’s vision for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to offer maximum value to Australian patients in a sustainable manner.

‘The $2.4bn commitment to both currently-scoped and future new medicines on the PBS shows strong ongoing support for streamlined access to the best treatments for Australian patients, as soon as they are available.’

‘Hospital pharmacists facilitate 22 per cent of PBS expenditure – a proportion that is growing each year – and play a crucial role managing the introduction of cutting-edge medicines and, on behalf of our members, we welcome tonight’s strengthening of the Life Saving Drugs Program, including the introduction of additional listings.

‘We would welcome further consultation on how medicines remuneration can be best managed to achieve optimal health outcomes for all Australians.’

‘SHPA also supports funding for education and training modules for health providers to increase prescribing of generic and biosimilar medicines – hospital pharmacists have led the way supporting greater use of these medicines, which are of comparable quality, safety, and efficacy but can deliver significant cost savings.’

Ms Michaels says the 2018 Health Budget contained a vote of confidence in the public hospitals as key drivers of healthcare innovation.

‘It is positive to see $30.2bn in increased funding for public hospitals though the National Health Reform Agreement, which acknowledges their central role in providing care for our nation.

‘SHPA will maintain particular interest in the implementation and outcomes of $100m for health innovation – set aside within this funding – given hospital pharmacists are important drivers of innovation within the public healthcare system.

Ms Michaels says SHPA also welcomes the Budget’s focus on healthcare equity in rural and regional areas.

‘By encompassing allied health professionals in the newly announced incentive scheme, this Budget adds impetus for primary healthcare settings across the country to hire a pharmacist, and include a medicines expert in their team, perhaps for the first time.

‘Additional loading makes this prospect particularly attractive outside major cities, which is appropriate recognition of the importance of pharmacists’ roles and the support they can provide in areas where equitable access is harder to achieve.’

Download the media release

Media coverage