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The Nationals vindicated on 60-day dispensing

Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud says Labor’s announcement to bring forward the 8th Community Pharmacy Agreement is an acknowledgement their 60-day dispensing policy was going to adversely impact community pharmacies and health outcomes, particularly in regional Australia.

Mr Littleproud said The Nationals have been vindicated by the Government’s announcement today of bringing forward the next pharmacy agreement, which The Nationals had been calling for, for months, to ensure pharmacies didn’t close, particularly in regional Australia. 

“Today’s decision is a win for pharmacists and communities but an acknowledgement Labor got this wrong, where we could have seen communities without a pharmacy at all,” Mr Littleproud said.

“60-day dispensing will now be dealt with under a Community Pharmacy Agreement and we welcome this move and what we have been calling for, but the devil will be in the detail.

“Changes to the PBS, allowing Australians to double the amount of medicines they could purchase, from 30 days to 60 days, had unintended consequences, which was a fundamental change to a pharmacy business model, effectively making some unviable.

“We all want cheaper medicines but Labor’s policy was poorly thought through and rushed and regional health would pay the price. The Nationals listened to industry and spoke with pharmacists, who were going to have to start stockpiling medication, which is a near-impossible task with the often-disrupted and unreliable supply chain.

“Regional pharmacies are small family businesses and risked having to close. More than 600 regional pharmacies were under threat, on top of 20,000 jobs.

“The Nationals will be watching closely the outcomes of these negotiations but hope that the Government has finally listened and gets the detail right.”