Since 1990, the remuneration received by pharmacists for dispensing pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) medicines and the rules for the establishment of pharmacies have been governed by a series of agreements between the Australian Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild). Over time, these agreements have grown to include professional pharmacy programs and services. Since 2005, the Australian government has provided funding to a Community Services Obligation (CSO) Funding Pool. The CSO Funding Pool ensures that all Australians have continuous access to the full range of PBS medicines through community pharmacies. It offers financial support to pharmaceutical wholesalers and supplies the full range of PBS drugs regardless of the location of the pharmacy and relative delivery costs. In addition to funding, the 6CPA also provided for the continuation of pharmacy location rules that prevent pharmacies from opening near existing pharmacies or in supermarkets. In light of a March 2015 report by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) which criticised aspects relating to the negotiation and management of the Fifth Community Agreement on Pharmacies, the 6CPA provided for an independent review of the remuneration and regulation of pharmacies. The audit body agreed whether the fee paid to pharmacists should be based on the average cost of dispensing good practice in a pharmacy or whether the fee should continue to be agreed between the guild and the government (pp. 15-16). The government`s response to the revision appears to favour the latter option and notes that any agreed fee should ensure a viable community pharmacy sector while ensuring that pbS remains affordable (p. 20). the proposal to allow the simultaneous supply of certain PBS drugs for chronic diseases in two months. This would save costs for patients and the government, but it would reduce pharmacists` revenues from the tax and the associated fees.
The guild rejects the proposal and draws attention to concerns about the impact on pharmacists and the risk that patients will not take their medications properly. The current status of the proposal in the negotiations is unclear, with the Ministry of Health saying in late 2019 that «the government will carefully review the proposal and will not propose to change the quantities of PBS drugs at this stage.» In 1981, an Independent Drug Benefits Tribunal (IRBP) was established to determine the remuneration of pharmacies for dispensing PBS drugs. In 1989, the PBRT proposed amendments to reduce the remuneration of pharmacy owners (p. 36). This triggered a dispute between the government and the guild over the calculation of remuneration, which was settled by the signing, on 6 December 1990, of the first community contract between the guild and the Minister of Age, Family and Health Services. The National Health Act 1953 was amended in 1990 to require the PBRT to bring into force such an agreement between the Minister and the Guild (or any other organization representing the majority of licensed pharmacists) (section 98BAA). If such an agreement is not in force, the PBRT determines the remuneration of pharmacists for the dispensing of PBS medicinal products (§ 98B, paragraph 1). .