ACT Independent Senator David Pocock has today voted alongside other crossbenchers not to support a move by the Coalition to disallow the government’s changes to enable 60 day dispensing.
He also opposed the Coalition’s move to delay consideration of their own disallowance motion beyond 1 September, given feedback he had received from pharmacies and consumers about the need for certainty before 1 September.
“In coming to this decision I have consulted widely and in detail with local ACT pharmacies, patients, the Pharmacy Guild, AMA, RACGP and other stakeholders about the changes to both dispensing and the Opioid Dependence Treatment (ODT) program,” Senator Pocock said.
“I hosted a roundtable with pharmacists and visited a number of local pharmacies to better understand the potential impacts of these changes.
“I acknowledge the genuine concerns that have been raised with me and have worked collaboratively with the Federal and ACT Health Ministers to help find the best outcomes.
“I’ve heard the concerns from pharmacies about a hit to their revenue from the move to 60 day dispensing and I’ve been advocating with Minister Butler to ensure maximum reinvestment in community pharmacies and will continue to push this.
“Another significant issue raised with me was the difference between how much pharmacies could be paid under the new Federal ODT program, versus the former ACT program.
“Following discussions, I have received correspondence confirming that the ACT Government is committed to working with the Commonwealth and affected pharmacies to close the gap in pharmacy remuneration between the previous ODT scheme and the new scheme.
“This will make a significant difference to dosing pharmacies across the ACT, helping to maintain our nation-leading accessibility for the patients who depend on their services.
“I am also mindful of feedback received from multiple consultations across the community about the urgent need for cost-of-living relief, including the consumer savings 60 day dispensing will provide.
“People across our community are doing it extremely tough and while this was a difficult decision I believe this strikes the best possible balance.
“I thank the ACT and Federal governments for their constructive engagement and our local pharmacies for the huge contribution they make.”