The proposed implementation of the GP co-payment has been a hot topic of late, bringing significant attention to government healthcare subsidies.

Following the latest Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) announcement, Pharmacy News reported pharmacists have taken to Social Media to voice their opinions about the scheme, and its potential implications for the future of medicine.

Image sourced from: | viewed on 26-Aug-14

Image sourced from: | viewed on 26-Aug-14

According to Pharmacy Guild of Australia President, Antony Tassone, “Prior to any cuts from April 1, 2014, there have been approximately $8.9 billion of savings over and above the budget forecasts of PBS expenditure since 2011, resulting in forward estimates having to be downgraded four times.”

While the government is working hard to entice the public with this scheme, pharmacists are arguing that it has failed to address the issue of under-cutting pharmacists, making it hard for them to reap financial reward.

According to Sydney-based pharmacist, Peter Breinl, “Retail pharmacies in Australia in less population dense areas are not able to cover costs and we will end up like England, where you have to travel a long way to find a pharmacy outside cities.”

Health editor at The Australian newspaper, Sean Parnel, tweeted an email representing the collective voice of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), the Consumer Health Forum of Australia (CHF) and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) on the subject.

“When it comes to health costs, no decision about us should be taken without us. A mandatory co-payment would wreck a fundamental principle of Medicare: universal access to healthcare. We urge the Health Minister, Peter Dutton, to consult on the Medicare co-payment issue with groups representing all users of the health system, not just the doctors.”

Today’s Pharmacy Daily e-newsletter features an article entitled PBS co-pay increase ‘necessary,’ highlighting The Department of Health’s stance on the issue, citing the increased PBS co-payments and safety net is not only reasonable and proportionate, but necessary. It further justifies this statement by explaining that it is necessary to boost medical innovation.

For further updates on the topic, be sure to re-visit our blog.