I recently attended the 2019 APP Conference on the Gold Coast to both keep up-to-date with what is happening within the industry and to get a feel for the future direction of the industry.
There was a selection of both local and international speakers that represented different sections of the pharmacy industry, ranging from the Federal Minister for Health, leaders of the Pharmacy Guild, pharmacy leaders from around the world, wholesaler leaders, futurists and individual pharmacists.
All were generally informative and thankfully, sometimes even entertaining.
Following are some of the main points that came out from the APP Conference.
- The Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt stated the following:
- Although there is going to be continuing pressure to reduce the cost of medications, the government is releasing an additional $200m for AHI fees through to 2023;
- There will be no changes to the locations rules under his tenure;
- There will be no federal licences given to supermarket chains under his tenure.
- Interestingly the shadow Minister for Health Catherine King stressed that her government will ‘look at’ continuing the current location rules, but also mentioned several times her government will look to continually reduce the cost of medicines to the public.
- It is clear the government is moving pharmacists toward providing more and more professional or clinical services, and is providing more funding to do so. I think the key here is to make sure these services are performed efficiently so they are profitable;
- In relation to this, pharmacies will be required to have more consulting rooms or consulting areas going forward;
- PBS payments are to be received by the pharmacist between 2 to 9 days after a claim is made for most payments, reducing the current processing time of between 9 to 16 days (which will enhance the pharmacy’s cashflow);
- E-prescribing is going to be fully rolled out in the near future (currently 80% of scripts are going through as E-scripts);
- All of the recipients of ‘Pharmacy of the Year’ awards mentioned they engaged greatly in the community and worked with other health professionals in order to grow their business.
It’s certainly going to be an interesting year for the pharmacy industry with the Federal election coming up, which may include a change in government. Plus the 7th CPA is due to be completed by July 2020, for which talks between the Guild and the Government have already begun.