The Pharmacy Benefits Association (PBA) is the industry’s leading consumer advocacy organisation and has been lobbying for the introduction of a Medicare-style prescription drug plan for some time.
PBA is also one of the major sponsors of the annual “Pharmacy Benefits Week”, which sees its members deliver the message to policymakers about the benefits of prescription drug coverage.PBA has argued that it can save the taxpayer money by paying pharmacists directly for prescriptions, rather than having them compete with the pharmaceutical industry for a share of the business.
In Australia, pharmacies already offer a prescription drug benefit, which provides a discount on prescription drugs and is paid for by the government.
It is administered to patients who have the prescriptions for prescription drugs.
But the new government policy on Medicare means pharmacies can no longer benefit from the government’s rebate.
The PBA has been campaigning for changes in the way prescription drug plans are administered, with the aim of reducing the government rebate.
It also wants the government to give pharmacists the right to refuse to offer a Medicare prescription drug service to patients if they feel it is not in their patients’ best interests.
The organisation’s director, Ian Stewart, said the policy was an example of a country-wide trend to introduce a Medicare plan.
“We’ve seen a lot of countries do it, so it’s a global trend,” he said.
“What we’re seeing in Australia is that we’re actually moving towards a Medicare model, which is one of those things that’s not a new idea in the pharmaceutical world.”PBA is calling for the government “to introduce a new system that’s much more affordable, that’s better for the consumer and the public purse”.
“The government needs to consider what the best way to fund this is,” he added.
“The best way is to introduce Medicare and then to introduce it to all Australians.”
Under the new plan, pharmacists can be paid by the Government, with any payments made by patients directly going into the plan.
Picketing pharmacies, including those that are already in a “good standing” agreement with the Government and the Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBMA), would be eliminated, and instead, pharmacist pay would be decided by the PBMA.
In practice, the plan would be much simpler, Stewart said, and there would be no “debate” about whether pharmacists should be paid for providing services that patients already have access to.
He said the PBMMAs “exactly” align with the PBA’s objectives, and they would not impose any restrictions on pharmacists or their ability to refuse any patients who did not want a prescription service.
However, some pharmacies have criticised the proposed change, saying they would still face the same “debates” about their business and the need for Medicare.
Pharmacists are not allowed to refuse a Medicare patient.
The PBMMA is the government-appointed body that regulates pharmacy services in Australia, and the PBAMA is also responsible for ensuring that pharmacies meet the standards required for Medicare prescriptions.
It is also the government body responsible for providing support to pharmacies in the event of a shortage of prescription drugs or any other reason.
The government has previously proposed a similar system in the United States, where a pharmacist would be paid directly by the patients they serve, but there has been criticism that the proposal could lead to a system of “failing pharmacies”.