Thursday, April 15th, 2010
SHPA welcomes the examination undertaken by NATSEM in its report “Modelling Options for the Public Funding of Hospital Medicines in Australia – the current system and proposals for reform”.

Reform will require input and considerable ‘buy in’ from many stakeholders, but SHPA says that it is worth doing and fits very well with the current Australian health reform agenda.

The funding of medicines in public and private hospitals is complex. SHPA covered the topic in its submission to the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission (NHHRC), building on an earlier discussion paper (2004). Medicines funding and regulation gives rise to a number of medical and financial problems and concerns for hospital pharmacists. Despite various proposals for change in the funding of
hospital medicines, it has not gained attention in the crowded health reform agenda.

“The NATSEM paper has put this topic back on the radar in a constructive way. The issues remain very complex and the ‘devil will be in the detail’, but commencing the journey to a more integrated system is long overdue”, said SHPA CEO Yvonne Allinson.

“The more complex care needs in hospitals mean that the system will need to be integrated with, yet different from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) that operates so well for the majority of Australians receiving community based care”.

SHPA President Neil Keen explained that, “a plethora of arrangements now underpins hospital medicines funding, some of which include cost-shifting opportunities between government funders. Reforms should improve transparency and efficiency of care, as well as providing information about the safe and cost-effective use of medicines in all health care settings. This will strengthen future local and national evidence based decision making, including the anticipation of changes in the use of medicines and future funding needs”.

The safe and effective use of medicines in hospitals needs the active involvement of pharmacists. This has been recognised by Australia’s Safety and Quality bodies. Nearly half of all hospital pharmacists work at the bedside alongside doctors and nurses. Therefore, SHPA favours reform options in which the cost of medicines used in hospitals, as well as the services needed to support their safe use are considered together.

SHPA has also stated the importance that any future reform for medicines funding in hospitals must maintain the many positive features of the currently used in public hospitals. Future reforms should build on these strengths and expand benefits to the Australian consumer.

Contact Profile

Yvonne Alllinson

P: +61 3 9486 0177


SHPA, funding, hospital medicines



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