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COMMUNITY AFFAIRS REFERENCES COMMITTEE—REFERENCE

The Chair of the Community Affairs References Committee (Senator Siewert), pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved business of the Senate notice of motion no. 2—That the following matter be referred to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 18 August 2011:

The effectiveness of the special arrangements established in 1999 under section 100 of the National Health Act 1953, for the supply of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines to remote area Aboriginal Health Services, with particular reference to:

 (a) whether these arrangements adequately address barriers experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote areas of Australia in accessing essential medicines through the PBS;

 (b) the clinical outcomes achieved from the measure, in particular to improvements in patient understanding of, and adherence to, prescribed treatment as a result of the improved access to PBS medicines;

 (c) the degree to which the `quality use of medicines' has been achieved including the amount of contact with a pharmacist available to these patients compared to urban Australians;

 (d) the degree to which state/territory legislation has been complied with in respect to the recording, labelling and monitoring of PBS medicines;

 (e) the distribution of funding made available to the program across the Approved Pharmacy network compared to the Aboriginal Health Services obtaining the PBS medicines and dispensing them on to its patients;

 (f) the extent to which Aboriginal Health Workers in remote communities have sufficient educational opportunities to take on the prescribing and dispensing responsibilities given to them by the PBS bulk supply arrangements;

 (g) the degree to which recommendations from previous reviews have been implemented and any consultation which has occurred with the community controlled Aboriginal health sector about any changes to the program;

 (h) access to PBS generally in remote communities; and

 (i) any other related matters.

Question put and passed.