8CPA: what we know so far


After hinting at PSA23 that the Eighth Community Pharmacy Agreement negotiations might be brought forward, federal Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler confirmed this week (7 August) that the process will begin now.

Negotiations were brought forward 12 months, so pharmacists can expect a new CPA in less than a year. The process is expected to conclude by 30 June 2024.

During a media announcement in Canberra on Monday, Minister Butler said he was ‘determined to deliver business confidence to the community pharmacy sector’.

‘Community pharmacies already play an integral role in the health care of their local communities. The Government wants to see pharmacists play a larger role in the primary care sector by further supporting patients.’

Here’s a look at the key changes and what they could mean for pharmacy practice.

8CPA – a new way forward

The PSA and Pharmacy Guild of Australia will remain as signatories to the new agreement. However, Minister Butler announced broader stakeholder involvement, including:

  • patient groups
  • medicines wholesalers and distributors
  • others involved in the growth and development of pharmacy services.

The design of 8CPA programs will also shift to include:

  • an assessment of current 7CPA programs to determine how effective they are for patients
  • insights and recommendations from previous reviews into the community pharmacy sector.

Lessons learned from this process will shape the new agreement in partnership and negotiation with community pharmacy groups.

‘The new agreement will support the Government’s ongoing commitment to improving patient health outcomes and providing cheaper medicines for all Australians,’ said Minister Butler.

 Welcome but cautious

PSA welcomed the timeline shift in 8CPA negotiations, with National President Dr Fei Sim FPS looking ‘forward to working with the government and the Pharmacy Guild to drive better and safer access to medicines for Australians’.

In a message to members on Tuesday (7 August), Dr Sim said, ‘The two important elements we need to make sure the 8CPA delivers is number one, access to care and secondly, around medicine safety’.

The rigorous assessment process suggested by the government to craft the new agreement is also well within pharmacists’ purview.

‘PSA has championed embedding of quality and safety measures in pharmacy programs for many years, and will seek to drive evaluation measures in CPA programs to help demonstrate the role pharmacists play every day in supporting safer and more effective use of medicines,’ she said.

PSA has said that their focus during the 8CPA negotiations include:

  • allowing pharmacists to practise to full scope to cement their role as the stewards for safe and effective use of medicines
  • ensuring close alignment between the commencement of 60-day dispensing and a new community pharmacy agreement.

‘While there is up to 11 months before negotiations are proposed to conclude, the real impact of 60-day dispensing will be felt immediately by community pharmacists as the measure commences on 1 September,’ Dr Sim said. 

‘Pharmacists need certainty now that the care they provide will remain viable in the short term. 

‘As a profession, pharmacists can do more and want to do more. But we can’t keep doing more with less.’