Local Pharmacist Casey Clark of Scenic Rim Discount Drug Store says the Federal Government’s plan to introduce 60-day dispensing will negatively affect the health care of Australians.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler’s announcement doubles the amount of medicine a pharmacy can dispense to a patient for more than 320 medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
This effectively halves the dispensing fees for these medicines which the Government says will save patients up to $180 per year.
The 60-day prescribing was a recommendation of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in 2018.
Since 2018, Ms Clark says the effect of Covid has seen medicine shortages Australia has never encountered before.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision, saying it will save patients $180 per year.
However Ms Clark says her pharmacy will lose up to twenty-five per cent of its income if the scheme goes ahead.
“It’s going to create havoc,” she said.
“It’s going to create job losses and medication shortages.”
“Pharmacies will have to reevaluate their opening hours. We will look at closing Sundays. This is going to put pressure back on the local hospital.”
When a similar policy was introduced in the United Kingdom 1,100 pharmacies closed and in New Zealand more than 70 pharmacies closed. Pharmacy Guild of Australia is yet to be briefed on this policy by the Federal Government or the Department of Health.