One day before the first tranche of changes, but pharmacy is still fighting

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Just one day before the first tranche of medicines will be impacted by increased dispensed maximum quantities.

The first tranche includes 92 of the 325 PBS-listed medicines impacted by the change that will see the maximum dispensed quantity double from 30 to 60 days.

Patients wanting to benefit from the change will need a new prescription because the impacted medicines have new PBS item codes for the 60-day quantity.

Doctors can also prescribe a 30-day quantity based on their clinical judgment.

The PBS safety nets have not been adjusted to account for the increase in quantities.

In an information kit for prescribers, the Department of Health and Aged Care said, "With a 60-day prescription, many patients will save so much on their medicines that they won’t need the Safety Net. Others will reach the Safety Net later in the year, having spread their medicines costs over a longer period. Importantly, medicines will be cheaper for all patients on 60-day prescriptions."

However, community pharmacy is not giving up its fight for compensation over the impact of the change, with a demonstration planned for Canberra on Monday to coincide with the resumption of parliament.

The government's own assessment estimated an average per-pharmacy decline of 18 per cent in official PBS remuneration in year four of the change.

The government has already agreed to compensate wholesalers contracted under the PBS Community Service Obligation for the "business impacts" of the increase in dispensed quantities. 

The Senate was not informed of this compensation before it debated a motion in early August to disallow the change.