MEDIA RELEASE – Higher-priced and higher-volume medicines effectively underwrite the economics of the current cross-subsidised distribution model. Their selective removal makes the economics of delivering the remaining medicines even less sustainable. Without Government action, the changes proposed will critically impact the entire pharmaceutical supply system in Australia. Cost to pharmacy will go up, service will go down and there will be a negative impact on customers.
NPSA is calling on the Government to ensure all PBS-listed medicines remain available for distribution to pharmacy by CSO wholesalers in the wake of AstraZeneca’s decision to use an exclusive direct-distribution model. A number of higher-value and higher-volume medicines, representing around 30% of AstraZeneca’s revenue base, is to bypass wholesalers and be delivered direct-to-pharmacy.
“The Government is the effective buyer of PBS medicines on behalf of all Australians. To continue to uphold the National Medicines Policy and preserve the principles of equity of access for all Australian patients, it needs to ensure that all PBS-listed medicines are available through the CSO wholesalers at equivalent pricing,” said Mr Mark Hooper Mr Hooper, Chairman of NPSA .
“Allowing the current cross-subsidised system to effectively be picked apart inevitably results in a weakening of the National Medicines Policy and will have flow on implications for pharmacy. Pharmacy felt the substantial financial impact when Pfizer went to a direct distribution model in 2012, and this looks similar.
“Further, overseas experience illustrates how exclusive distribution can change the dynamics of the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain, shifting the focus from pharmacy to manufacturers, from a system orientated toward patient need to one driven by commercial imperatives,” Mr Hooper said.
Whilst the NPSA appreciates pharmaceutical manufacturers should be able to make commercial decisions regarding supply and distribution, there are broader implications that the Government needs to carefully and urgently consider for Patients, Pharmacy and CSO Wholesalers.
Under the CSO, the CSO wholesalers (NPSA members) provide PBS medicines to any pharmacy at a specified service standard usually within 24 hours of request at or below the approved price to pharmacy.
The stance taken by NPSA has the strong support of The Pharmacy Guild of Australia who will seek to mobilise their members to ensure all PBS medicines remain available for distribution by the CSO Wholesalers at equivalent pricing.
Contact: Donna Staunton on 0413 185 724
The National Pharmaceutical Services Association represents CSO wholesalers Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, National Pharmacies, Sigma Healthcare and Symbion.