MEDIA RELEASE 15 March 2019 – The NPSA echoes recent sentiments expressed by Medicines Australia in relation to creating unity across the healthcare sector to ensure that the system remains on stable footing, however has warned of undervaluing the role of CSO wholesalers.
According to independent analysis commissioned by the NPSA, in Australia wholesale distribution costs, including the cost of the CSO, account for just 6.5% of the total PBS spend and 80% of products are distributed for less than the cost of a postage stamp.
“Australia has a world-class healthcare system and a key part of this is the National Medicines Policy, which functions to ensure that everyone in the country can have affordable and timely access to medicines,” NPSA Chairman Mark Hooper said.
“NPSA members play a critical role in this by upholding the standards of the CSO, a large part of which is the requirement to be able to deliver the full range of PBS products to anywhere in Australia and generally within 24 hours.
“The ongoing sustainability of this system, which has provided substantial benefits for patients, pharmacists and government since its introduction in 2006, relies however, on mutual support across the sector.
“Unfortunately, this system faces ongoing threats from those that seek to pursue exclusive-direct distribution arrangements, which have been shown to undermine patient access and add unnecessary complexity for pharmacists.
“Those who argue the system is anti-competitive are simply not correct; the CSO is open and fair for all who comply to its standards and is necessary to protect patients and pharmacists from a fragmented and inefficient supply chain. “Unity in the medicines sector moving forward involves understanding that the CSO is the best mechanism to deliver on the principles of the National Medicines Policy and that it should be safeguarded so that future generations can continue to enjoy equitable access to medicines,” Mr Hooper said.
The National Pharmaceutical Services Association represents CSO wholesalers Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, National Pharmacies, Sigma Healthcare and Symbion.
Contact: Myles Wallace on 0432 866 094 or firstname.lastname@example.org