MEDIA RELEASE 12 SEPTEMBER 2018 – While Australians will benefit from new legislation designed to manage medicine shortages, loopholes in the supply chain continue to put patients at risk.
National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA) Chairman Mark Hooper said passage of the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2018 Measures No. 1) Bill 2018 is welcome as it will help doctors and pharmacists minimise the impact on patients in the event of medicines shortages. More action is needed however, to extinguish avoidable risks.
“Exclusive direct supply from manufacturers to pharmacies creates a dangerous dependency on sole distribution for the medicines they carry, with no redundancy of supply. If there is a supply interruption, for whatever reason, then patients would be potentially denied access to their medication,” Mr Hooper said.
The Government’s Community Service Obligation (CSO), which was created to ensure all PBS medicines were available to Australians generally within 24 hours, sets high standards to protect against service disruption.
“If one CSO distributor cannot supply a drug, another is available to meet the shortfall. That system works when every PBS medicine is available to every CSO distributor. Pharmacists recognise and value this service,” Mr Hooper said.
“It is in patients’ interests for the government to take the logical next step in managing medicines shortages and plug this regulatory loophole by ensuring all PBS listed medicines are made available to CSO distributors at equivalent prices.”
NPSA joined other stakeholders in the Medicines Partnership of Australia and the Therapeutic Goods Administration on a comprehensive protocol and mandatory reporting framework to manage the occurrence of medicines shortages in Australia.
Contact: Jasmine Hogg, Apollo Communications 0422 834 912