New law gives clarity on future of location rules
Parliament has approved a law that ensures the long-term survival of location rules and gives clarity to 5700 pharmacies.
The sunset clause that would have caused location rules to expire with the 6CPA in 2020 has been repealed as part of a range of PBS changes.
Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt promised to remove the clause as part of his 2017 Federal Budget compact with the Pharmacy Guild.
Location rules opponent Senator David Leyonhjelm attempted to derail the new legislative protection for the rules. But his amendment to retain the sunset clause failed to gain enough votes to get through.
Pharmacy Guild president George Tambassis says the removal of the sunset clause recognises that pharmacies need certainty and stability to continue investing in their businesses.
“We thank the Government, the Opposition and the Australian Greens for supporting the passage of this legislation.”
The legislation also paves the way for the rollout of 2017 Budget measures to save the PBS a further $1.8 billion over the next five years.
The measures include one-off price reductions for certain medicines that have been on the PBS for 10 and 15 years.
The 16% discount for F1 drugs when the first new competing brand is listed also increases to 25%.
The government has promised the savings will be re-invested into new medicine listings.