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Thursday, 10 May 1984
Page: 2000

(Question No. 812)

Senator Peter Baume asked the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 5 April 1984:

How are pharmacists to know whether the cheques they receive from the Department of Veterans' Affairs reflect accurately what is due to them for the issue of drugs, if they have no way of knowing what the unit price of each of these drugs is supposed to be, as the booklet entitled 'Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits' does not list prices payable to pharmacists for the issue of drugs to veterans.

Senator Gietzelt —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

Pharmacists who have received approval to supply drugs under the repatriation pharmaceutical benefits scheme are provided with a reconciliation statement relating to each claim for payment submitted. This statement lists each item contained in the claim identifying the item by the serial number allocated by the pharmacist making the claim, the code number for the particular drug supplied and the price paid for that supply.

The prices payable by the Department are derived from an audited file of wholesale prices, provided for the purpose, by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. This file is subject to monthly updating and is the source of all pricing documents published by the Guild and provided to pharmacists. There are, therefore, no discrepancies between the price paid by the Department and the payment which the pharmacist would, as a result of consulting his or her standard pricing references, expect to receive.

In view of the above it is considered not economically justifiable to print prices in the Repatriation Schedule as their regular updating would incur additional printing costs in duplicating information readily available to pharmacists.