Prescription for pharmacy talks: add consumers

The Consumers Health Forum will urge the government to ensure the next negotiations for the Community Pharmacy Agreement include consumer representatives.

The Government has left open the prospect of the Consumers Health Forum being part of the next pharmacy agreement as recommended by the Government-appointed Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation Panel, the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.

“At a time when CHF research tells us  that consumers trust pharmacists,  value community pharmacy and want pharmacy services to be opened up to be more integrated with the rest of the health system, the Government has supported  a limited number of the recommendations of the review to reform community pharmacy.

This is also despite calls from pharmacy and general practice clinical leaders that modern pharmacy needs to shift from its ‘dispensing’ mentality to one of community care.

“This highlights the need for the voice of consumers to balance the influence of pharmacy owners in ensuring future directions of community pharmacy reflect community interests.

“Over the years, the Consumers Health Forum has played a significant role in helping to shape important elements of community health practice.  This includes CHF’s initiating role in the genesis of the Australian Medicines Handbook, which now provides an independent and up-to-date source of drug information to foster rational prescribing in Australia.

“The pharmacy review – known as the King Review - has made a range of recommendations aimed at making community pharmacy even more responsive to people’s needs.

“These recommendations include changing payments systems to enable pharmacists to more easily play an active role in primary health care, the introduction of minimum standards of service by pharmacies, and better means of evaluating the performance of pharmacies which a receiving more than $18 billion over five years to cover their dispensing and other costs.

“Community pharmacy negotiations which included representatives of consumers and professional pharmacists as well as pharmacy owners, makes sense when we consider the importance and cost of pharmacies to the community,” Ms Wells said.

“In the same way that consumers are now routinely involved in other high level decision making and advisory forums to government such as the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, the MBS Review Taskforce, PBAC, MSAC and the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee, so too should they be involved in pharmacy agreement discussions.   It is nothing short of good public policy”.

For further CHF commentary on the Government’s response to the King Review go to our blog:   


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Mark Metherell
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