The Turnbull Government is supporting the expansion of community pharmacy programs to help more patients around Australia better understand and manage their medications and avoid ill-health.
Under the Increasing Patient Access to Medication Management Services measure in the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement, the Turnbull Government is providing $600 million to continue and expand a number of pharmacy programs.
Medicines are powerful tools in the fight against disease and infections. It’s important that people understand how their medications work, the correct dosage, how long they need to take them, and how they may interact with other prescribed or over-the-counter medicines.
The programs help patients who are at greater risk of being unable to properly manage their medications.
The ‘MedsChecks’ and ‘Diabetes MedsChecks’ services provide an in-pharmacy review of eligible patients’ medications, focusing on education and self-management. This service is provided free of charge to patients.
From 1 July, pharmacies who offer the service will be able to conduct up 20 MedsChecks/Diabetes MedsChecks per calendar month (up from the previous 10 checks per month). Pharmacies will also collect data on patients at the start of the service and at a six-month follow-up.
The ‘Staged Supply’ service provides PBS medications to the patient in instalments, if requested by the prescriber.
From 1 July, each community pharmacy taking part in the program will be able to support up to four patients, and patient data will be collected at the start of the service and at a six-month follow-up.
The ‘Dose Administration Aids’ service conveniently packages all a patient’s medications in sealed blister packs for the patient to take morning, noon or night.
We are establishing new patient eligibility criteria to better target the patients who will benefit from this product, such as patients with a high medication load and patients who are experiencing literacy or language issues.
From 1 July, approved pharmacies will receive a contribution of $6 per person, per week towards the cost of this service, and will be required to collect data on a sample of 26,000 patients at the start of the service, and during the patients’ six month follow-up.
‘Home Medicines Review’ is a free service which includes a comprehensive pharmacist review of a patient’s medications at their home.
The Government will seek to expand the service during 2017–2018 to include new pharmacy follow-up services and improved access by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
As these services are rolled out, the Government will assess the benefit to patients so that we can better target future funding to achieve the best outcomes.
Different community pharmacies may offer different programs, so if in doubt, ask your local pharmacist how they may be able to help you.
The expansion will ultimately mean more people can access these important community health services delivered by pharmacists.
Funding for these programs will increase in future years, in line with Budget allocations.