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Review of "price discounting by chemists" decision



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Ί(.Ί·Î¥0 -ηΗίΡ Λ> Μ FROM THECOMMONWEALTH MINISTER FOR HEALTH ΤΗΕΉ Ο Ν/Μ J R . MACKELLAR " "

REVIEW OF "PRICE DISCOUNTING BY CHEMISTS" DECISION

The Government has decided to set aside action to allow chemists

to discount prices for drugs covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits

Scheme, the Minister for Health, the Hon. M.J.R. MacKellar, said

today. .

Mr MacKellar said that the view had been put to the Government that

such action could dramatically alter the structure of the

pharmaceutical industry at a time when three major reviews are

being conducted into the industry's operations.

The Minister said "The Government has decided to undertake

additional studies of the likely impact of such a move and hold

further consultations with interested groups".

The Government will.ure.quest..the. Pharmacy Gui^d of Australia and

other interested bodies to contribute to the review and in

particular address themselves to the question of the best way of

assisting disadvantaged individuals in the ; community.

The Government announced on 19 August 1980 that it would introduce

legislation to allow.chemists to "discount" the present $2.75

patient contribution for pharmaceutical benefits.

. . ./2

The Minister emphasised that the existing provisions of the

National Health Act would continue and chemists would be expected

to comply with them.

The Government has decided to carry out further studies on the

effect of implementing the main recommendations of the Ralph

Inquiry into the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry. The

Government has done so as these proposals represent a significant

departure from the present drug pricing arrangements under the

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and there is considerable

uncertainty throughout the whole community about their likely

impact. ■

The Joint Committee of Pharmaceutical Benefits Pricing Arrangements

is also looking into the question of alternative methodologies that

could be followed in arriving at appropriate rates of remuneration

to chemists for the supply of drugs under the PBS. The methodology

subsequently chosen is to be used in determining whether the present

remuneration rates should be altered.

In addition, an" "inquiry is being undertaken by the Joint Parliamentar;

Committee of Public Accounts into the whole question of how

remuneration levels for chemists supplying pharmaceutical benefits

are set. ' · , ■ · . ; . . . · ■ ■

The Minister concluded by saying that although the original decision

to accept the recommendation of the Ralph report that discounting

should be allowed was taken in the budget context, this matter did not

in any way affect the 1980-81 Budget.

CANBERRA, 21 AUGUST 1980