Reinvestments into pharmacy services
The Australian Government continues to support a thriving community pharmacy sector.
All money saved by the government from reducing fees paid to pharmacies for supplying medication to patients will be reinvested into community pharmacies.
This is to support the ongoing vital role of the pharmacy sector and give new opportunities for expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice.
Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance (RPMA)
From 1 July 2023, the budget for the Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance (RPMA) doubled to $39.8m per year. This represents $79.5 million over 4 years to make sure Australians in regional, rural, and remote locations have continued access to pharmacies and pharmacy services.
The base payment for this allowance doubled from $3,000 per year to $6,000 per year. The RPMA provides funding to eligible pharmacies depending on:
- how many prescriptions they fill
- their location.
Some of Australia’s most remote pharmacies may be eligible to receive up to $95,000 per year in support. The funding will go to eligible pharmacies to support access to PBS medicines and pharmacy services for their community.
View the 2023-24 RPMA payment matrix for payment categories.
Regional Pharmacy Transition Allowance (RPTA)
From 1 September 2023, the Regional Pharmacy Transition Allowance (RPTA) started funding an extra $148.2 million over 4 years to support pharmacies in Modified Monash Model (MMM) 2 to 7 locations. This funding helps pharmacies across Australia transition their business arrangements to account for the new 60-day prescriptions.
The new RPTA means over the next 4 years, eligible pharmacies dispensing 50,000 scripts each year may receive an extra:
- $52,030 for pharmacies in large regional centres (MM2)
- $396,909 for pharmacies in large rural towns (MM3)
- $344,697 for pharmacies in medium rural towns (MM4)
- $338,477 for pharmacies in small rural towns (MM5)
- $213,391 for pharmacies remote communities (MM6)
- $198,263 for pharmacies in very remote communities (MM7).
View the 2023-24 RPTA payment matrix for payment categories.
To be eligible for RPTA, pharmacies must either:
- receive the RPMA (pharmacies in MMM 3 to7)
- open at least 20 hours per week, with a registered pharmacist on site for 48 weeks of the year (pharmacies in MMM 2)
- have script volumes in the 12 months from April 2022 to March 2023 that are below the relevant threshold.
Eligible pharmacies in MMM 3 to7 may receive funding to help offset the expected average dispensing related revenue loss:
- largely in full for 2023–24
- 60% for 2026–27.
Eligible pharmacies in MMM 2 may receive:
- nearly $12,500 in 2023–24
- more than $13,100 from 2024–25 to 2026–27.
Pharmacies are unlikely to have net negative income in year one of the policy if they:
- receive RPMA payments
- have script volumes below the relevant RPTA threshold.
National Immunisation Program (NIP)
From 1 January 2024, the Australian Government will provide an extra $114.1 million over 4 years for pharmacists to administer NIP vaccines to people aged 5 years and over. The NIP vaccines that pharmacists can administer in pharmacies will differ across the country, in line with state and territory legislation.
The National Immunisation Program is an uncapped program, which means that payments to pharmacies will be demand driven. The amounts paid to pharmacists may exceed those announced in the budget and the patient will incur no cost.
This initiative replaces current vaccination services where patients need to pay.
Opioid Dependence Treatment (ODT) Community Pharmacy Program
From 1 July 2023, the Australian Government started funding $377.3 million over 4 years for a new Opioid Dependency Treatment (ODT) Program for pharmacists.
This is separate funding to payments pharmacies receive for supplying ODT medicines under the Section 100 Highly Specialised Drugs (HSD) Community Access Program.
We expect pharmacy owners to receive $175 to $191 per patient per month because of this funding.
These changes mean more than 50,000 vulnerable patients who need treatment for opioid dependency will have funded support. Patients will only need to pay the PBS co-payment to access critical treatment through local pharmacies.
This uncapped initiative replaces current, patient self-funded services.