The Australian Government recognises the important role that community pharmacists and pharmacies play in our health system and is committed to supporting pharmacies across Australia in providing access to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines and effective health care services.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Access and Sustainability Package
is a group of measures which will deliver funding for community pharmacy through the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement
The total funding allocated for community pharmacy programs is $1.26 billion over five years, (2015-16 to 2019-20). This includes:
- $613 million to support community pharmacy programs that are continuing from the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement and which are assessed as clinically and cost effective;
- $50 million to support a new Pharmacy Trial Program (PTP). This program will fund a number of trials to improve patient outcomes, and seeks to expand the role of pharmacy in delivering a wider range of primary healthcare services; and
- $600 million to support a range of new and/or expanded programs, based on the recommendations of an independent health technology assessment body such as the Medical Services Advisory Committee about the outcomes of trials.
It is intended that a particular focus of the new, continuing and expanded Community Pharmacy Programs will be those which benefit:
(a) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and
(b) consumers in rural and remote areas.
Trials Advisory Group (TAG)
The TAG has been established as an independent expert advisory committee to provide advice to the Department on the development and implementation of trials under the PTP.
Processes and Principles for the Pharmacy Trial Program
Please find attached a Flowchart (PDF 128 KB)
- Flowchart Outline (Word 19 KB)
, outlining processes for establishing future trials.
Please find attached Principles (PDF 23 KB)
- Principles (Word 23 KB)
, which will underpin the PTP and any trials.
First Tranche of the trials
The first tranche of the trials will involve topics identified from previous research and development work in prior Agreements or through discussions and negotiations on the PBS Access and Sustainability Measure.
On 17 March 2016 at the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, announced the first three trial topics for the first tranche of the PTP would be:
- improved medication management for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through pharmacist advice and culturally appropriate services;
- pharmacy based screening and referral for diabetes; and
- improved continuity in the management of patients’ medications when they are discharged from hospital.
The first tranche of the Trials have been and will be subject to review by the TAG and the Protocol Advisory Sub Committee of the Medical Services Advisory Committee.
Stakeholder involvement, input and support from the consumer, pharmacy, pharmaceutical and medical sectors will be essential in assisting the Department in designing and implementing the PTP, and determining trial priorities.
The consultation process for the PTP commenced with a public forum on 26 October 2015, which a number of national peak groups and stakeholders attended. Please see the Forum Report (PDF 68 KB)
- Forum Report (Word 33 KB)
The Department released a Discussion Paper (PDF 230 KB)
- Discussion Paper (Word 362 KB)
, between 17 March 2016 and 29 April 2016 with a high level ‘Call for Ideas’ from stakeholders. The Department received 108 responses to the consulatation process. The information collected through the consultation process will be used to develop priority themes for the PTP for consideration by the Minister for Health and Aged Care. Once themes for the PTP have been developed, second and further tranches will include formal calls for submissions.
Over the coming months, the Department will continue to consult with a range of stakeholders and bodies as required.
There is no current call for funding in relation to implementing trials under the PTP. This page will be updated with links to relevant information when available.
This page will be updated, and identified stakeholders notified, when further information is available. If you have not already noted your interest to the Department and wish to be emailed regarding updates, you can register your interest by clicking on the subscribe button below and entering your name and email address.
Continuing Community Pharmacy Programs
The Sixth Agreement has a primary focus on assisting patients better manage their medications thereby reducing medication misadventure and delivering primary healthcare services through community pharmacy.
Under the Sixth Agreement, $613 million has been allocated to support community pharmacy programs that are continuing from the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement. These programs are listed below;
- Dose Administration Aids
- Staged Supply
- Clinical Interventions
- Home Medicines Reviews
- Residential Medication Management Reviews
- MedsCheck and Diabetes MedsCheck
- Rural Pharmacy Workforce Program
- Rural Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Specific Programs
- Electronic Prescription Fee
All continuing community programs and services will be assessed for clinical and cost effectiveness by an independent health technology assessment body, such as the Medical Services Advisory Committee. The TAG may also provide advice on any evidence generation processes required to inform cost-effectiveness assessments.
This process will ensure community pharmacy programs and services are assessed against the same standards of evidence as for other health professions. It supports a consistent approach to informing investment that delivers the greatest benefit to consumers, and will include existing programs and services, as well as investment in a range of new programs and services delivered through community pharmacy.
For more information on the community pharmacy programs, please visit Community Pharmacy Programs
Key Activities and Dates
The key activities for the PTP in 2015-16 include:
- Stakeholder consultation forum held 26 October 2015
- Establishment of the Trials Advisory Group (TAG)
- First TAG meeting held on 22 January 2016
- Bilateral meetings with key stakeholders commencing in February 2016 and ongoing
- TAG meeting on 15 March 2016
- Release of a discussion paper with a ‘Call for Ideas’ in March 2016
- TAG meeting on 24 August 2016 – Rescheduled
- TAG meeting on 20 September 2016
- TAG meeting on 30 November 2016
Trials Advisory Group - Membership
Name of member
Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom AO
Pharmacy and national medicine policy
Dr Ian Coombes
Mr Mark Douglass
Dr Tony Hobbs
Primary health care
Dr Shane Jackson
Mr Grant Martin
Dr Vlad Matic
Ms Samantha Robertson
Evidence, health advice and governance
Dr Rashmi Sharma OAM
Mr Brett Simmonds
Mr Ian Todd
Ms Diane Walsh
Health care consumer
Professor Robyn Ward AM
Health technology assessment
Dr Lynn Weekes AM
Quality use of medicines and pharmacist education
Rural and remote practitioner
If you wish to contact the Department in relation to the PTP, you can do so via the Pharmacy Trial Programme email address