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PD breaking news – Guild in urgent talks with department over HMRs

Pharmacy Guild continues to push for “temporary pause” in HMR program.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has just confirmed high level discussions today between its Executive Director, David Quilty and the Department of Health and Ageing in relation to the Home Medicines Review program.

As reported in Pharmacy Daily yesterday and today, cost overruns in the program have led to the Guild urging a moratorium on HMRs, a suggestion which has been roundly criticised by other stakeholders in the industry including the PSA and NPS Medicinewise.

According to a statement just released, “the Department and the Guild agreed that they would work together as a matter of urgency to find the earliest possible solution that puts the HMR program back on a sustainable financial footing” so that it can continue to deliver benefits to patients during the life of the current Community Pharmacy Agreement.

“With the 2012-13 HMR budget already significantly overrun and growing by the day, it is critical that this problem is fixed and fixed quickly,” the statement said.

“The Guild continues to believe that a temporary pause in the HMR program is the responsible course of action to enable these solutions to be expeditiously agreed and put in place without making the current regrettable financial situation even worse”.

The Guild said the Government will demand that the shortfall comes out of “other important community pharmacy programs,” and that it’s very concerned about the “inherent flaw of a program that has no limit in terms of the number of patient referrals that can be generated but is strictly constrained in terms of the funding available for the actual provision of the HMRs themselves”.

“The Guild is committed to ensuring that the HMR program is driven by genuine patient need and is not being misused through business models focused solely on revenue maximisation,” the statement added, with consultation also to be undertaken with other affected parties.

This afternoon the Consumers’ Health Forum (CHF) also weighed into the debate, with CHF ceo Carole Bennett describing the idea of a moratorium as “ridiculous,” while union group APESMA also released a letter to health minister Tanya Plibersek which claimed suspending the program would “destroy the careers of some of Australia’s best pharmacists”.

More information in Monday’s Pharmacy Daily.


The above Breaking News Alert was sent to Pharmacy Daily subscribers on 01 Feb 13

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