From 1 July, a permanent government measure will come into place ensuring that Australians can continue to access essential medicines during times of emergency, said Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon. Greg Hunt on 25 March.
Continued dispensing arrangements were set to expire on 30 June, but will now become permanent across Australia, a move welcomed by Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) National President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman.
“We applaud the Government making these common-sense arrangements permanent,” he says, adding that it provides Australians with confidence in being able to access their essential medications and the PBS subsidy in times of emergency.
“These emergency measures have clearly been successful throughout the pandemic,” says Associate Professor Freeman.
“Over an 18-month period, between January 2020 and the end of June 2021, more than 600,000 vital medicines were accessed under these provisions.
“After a tumultuous few years of natural disasters and five temporary extensions to the measures, this was the logical and sensible step to take – particularly given no major problems have been identified.”
Associate Professor Freeman says that it’s now the responsibility of “state and territory governments to “enable this by ensuring that regulations and barriers currently precluding these arrangements are removed”.