Pharmacy secures $25 billion in 8th federal deal

3 minute read

The Eighth Community Pharmacy Agreement has at last been signed, only three months after its original deadline. Here’s what we know.

The government has signed the Eighth Community Pharmacy Agreement with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, three months after failing to meet its own 1 March deadline. 

“Patients will see cost of living relief via the 8CPA, done in a sustainable way that recognises the importance of community pharmacists’ role delivering world-class, affordable primary healthcare,” said Guild national president Professor Trent Twomey. 

“The 8CPA reinforces community pharmacies as Australians’ most accessible primary health destination.” 

The new deal will take effect on 1 July and expire on 30 June 2029. While the full details of the agreement are yet to be released, here’s what we know so far. 

The 8CPA will deliver a $3 billion boost, as promised in the 2024/25 federal budget, and a total of $26.5bn to pharmacy over the next five years. 

This will include $22.5bn for community pharmacies to dispense prescriptions and $1.05bn for other pharmacy services such as Dose Administration Aids, MedsChecks, Staged Supply of medicines, and an increased Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance. 

Dose Administration Aid services will receive a designated $196.7 million. The weekly cap for small pharmacies on the number of Dose Administration Aids that will be funded was also increased. 

Dispensing fees paid to community pharmacies by the government will be CPI indexed. 

The government is also establishing a new Additional Community Supply Support Payment – to replace the Regional Pharmacy Transition Allowance – which will provide ongoing support for delivery of pharmacy services, particularly as the transition to 60-day prescribing continues to prevent increased patient fees.

This has been allocated $2.1bn in the new agreement. 

According to the government, patients have saved $370m as a result of 60-day dispensing and the reduced patient co-payment introduced last year. 

The temporary indexation freeze on PBS co-payments, for up to five years, will provide further financial relief to patients and will be covered by a $484.4m injection into pharmacy. 

The agreement also outlined the phasing-in of a $1 discount for all Australians, funded by the government. 

“The Agreement is good news for all Australians who rely on their local community pharmacy for medicines, advice and everyday healthcare services,” said Guild 8CPA lead negotiator Anthony Tassone. 

The government has also signed a strategic agreement on pharmacist professional practice standards with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, to review and update standards, guidelines, codes, and competency frameworks over the 8CPA period. 

Health Minister Mark Butler said the new agreement was a win for patients. 

“This new agreement will support pharmacists to deliver more services and cheaper medicines,” he said. 

“The agreements we have struck are a win for patients who will benefit from cheaper medicines and more pharmacy services. 

“Australians trust their local pharmacist to look after their health needs.” 

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