NACCHO News Alert : Better access to medicines will help close the gap

 

NACCHO GUILD PBS SIGNING (5)

Chronic diseases are one of the major reasons we still have a gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and other Australians,” Mr Cooke said.

“Improved access to medicines is critically important if we are to see generational change in the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke pictured at todays signing with The Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President, George Tambassis.

See copy of signed agreement below

A range of practical changes to Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will boost the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders accessing appropriate medicines and help close the health gap between Aboriginal and other Australians.

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (The Guild) today released a national Joint Position Paper calling for improvements in the CTG PBS Co-payment measure.

Introduced in 2010, the Closing the Gap Co-Payment measure reduces or removes the patient co-payment for PBS medicines for eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients living with, or at risk of chronic disease.

Some of the key points the position paper raises are the need for the measure to:

  • Link CTG eligibility to the patient’s Medicare Card to improve privacy, and so that the patient is eligible regardless of who the prescriber is or where their medicine is dispensed;
  • Expand the PBS listing to include more common medicines;
  • Include Dose Administration Aids for better management of medicines; and
  • Better communication for patients and health professionals of the CTG Co-payment measure.

NACCHO Chairperson Matthew Cooke said it was important that everything is done to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to appropriate medicines.

“Chronic diseases are one of the major reasons we still have a gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and other Australians,” Mr Cooke said.

“Improved access to medicines is critically important if we are to see generational change in the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President, George Tambassis, said it was pleasing that more than 258,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients were accessing the more affordable PBS medicines through the measure but more could be done to ensure greater take up.

“A range of practical enhancements would assist those in remote areas to get better access to the medicines under the scheme and ensure they have access to it wherever they fill their prescriptions. We want this vital scheme to be sufficiently flexible to improve the health of people wherever they live and wherever they travel,” he said.

“These relatively simple improvements will help in the management of chronic disease within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

The joint position paper can be found at here

Signed Joint Position Paper NACCHO PGOA CTG PBS Co-Payment Measure 28 October 2015

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