Contributed by Ugly
The Morrison government has been caught out in another lie. They have gone and raised the cost of some of the subsidised medicines. They said they would not put up the cost of prescriptions. Not having the guts to do this openly and honestly, it has done through the back door.
In a hidde nitem in the budget, $44 million has been slashed from the amount the government pays one group of pharmacies, for dispensing Pharmaceutical Scheme (PBS) medicines.
This is how they did it. The cut was focussed on the hospital system, both public and private, where there is a concentration of very sick patients needing complex and costly medications, which have increasingly been added to the PBS.
Less funding for staff means that providing medicines is more expensive, and the pressure is to pass this on to patients as higher costs for their medications. The alternative is longer waiting times to receive prescriptions, and this may be time that the patient cannot spare.
Hospital pharmacies are responsible for complex medicine, and loss of access to this means that patients will suffer and some will die. It is also highly likely that the poorer the person, the less access.
Under the cut, 500 fewer pharmacists can be employed.
This contrasts with the $215 million extra provided for chemists outside the hospital system. Wh6y the difference? It may well be because the industry has been significantly taken over by private monopolies, and this takeover is continuing.
As we have recently seen in the Chemist Warehouse dispute, they are not particularly prone to invest in staff. But given an advantage, the chemist monopolies are helped take business away from the pharmacies in the hospitals.
In the meantime, pharmacists employed at Chemist warehouse have called for a far greater say on how the company spends the money it receives.
It is a form of privatisation. No question about it. Funding cuts pressures hospitals to cut back their own operations and bring in outside contractors, which been given the advantage of dispensing medicines at a lower price. At least for the time being.
A big problem with this is that hospital pharmacies have much better access to expertise in acute medicine management settings and this means better patient care.
Don’t forget. This cut comes on top of the $2.8 billion cut from the public hospitals.
Patient wellbeing is not exactly a top priority here.
The sooner we get rid of the grubs behind this the better.