The Community Agreement on Pharmacies is a five-year agreement (currently in the fifth cycle) that regulates how pharmacies supply drugs listed in the Pharmaceutical Services System (PBS). While the average Australian makes more than 14 visits to a community pharmacy each year, few people are aware of the impact of this agreement on Australian pharmacy. According to the report of the Health Economics Group of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, it is estimated that the introduction of the double levy will reduce the average pharmacy`s gross margin by $85,000 if the proposed changes take into account. In 1981, an independent pharmaceutical compensation tribunal (PBRT) was established to determine the remuneration of pharmacies for the dispensing of PBS-based drugs. In 1989, the PBRT proposed amendments to reduce the pay of pharmacy owners (p. 36). This sparked a dispute between the government and the Guild over the calculation of compensation, which was settled by the signing on December 6, 1990, of the first community pharmacy agreement between the Guild and the Minister of Age, Family and Health Services. The National Health Act of 1953 was amended in 1990 to require the PBRT to implement such an agreement between the Minister and the Guild (or another organization representing the majority of licensed pharmacists) (section 98BAA). In the absence of such an agreement, the PBRT determines the pharmacy`s remuneration for the dispensing of PBS-based drugs (subsection 98B (1)).

The 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement – signed last night in Canberra – provides safety and stability to 5,800 pharmacies in Australia and provides first-class pharmaceutical services to Australian patients. the proposal to simultaneously authorize the supply of two months of deliveries of certain PBS-based medicines for chronic diseases. This would reduce costs for patients and the government, but would reduce pharmacists` revenues from distribution and related costs. The guild rejects the proposal and complains about the impact on pharmacy facilities and the risk that patients will not take their medications properly. The current state of the proposal in the negotiations is unclear, with the Ministry of Health noting at the end of 2019 that “the government will carefully consider the proposal and does not propose, at this stage, to change the quantities of PBS-based drugs.” There are reports that stakeholders have advised the government on how 7CPA can maintain affordability, improve access to PBS-based medicines and provide effective pharmaceutical services. Negotiations with the signatories are private, although the pharmaceutical and industry media have reported on some issues that are supposed to have differences.