Wednesday, 5 March 2014
National Health Amendment (Simplified Price Disclosure) Bill 2013; In Committee
I will not take this any further, other than to restate the position that this simplified price disclosure or accelerated price disclosure is actually going to make it more difficult for a number of pharmacies to adjust—because the time period has been truncated. Whenever you bring in any reforms or changes such as this, it is about how you implement it, it is the transitional arrangements, and what the community pharmacists have said to me is that, in good faith, they negotiated an agreement for price disclosure but not for accelerated price disclosure on these terms. I will not take it any further. I understand the minister's position on behalf of the government. I move the amendment on sheet 7459 revised:
(1) Schedule 1, item 2, page 3 (after line 13), after subsection 99ADH(2), insert:
(2A) For the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003, the explanatory statement in relation to a determination under paragraph (1)(aa) of this section must include a statement of the financial impact of the determination, including an analysis of the costs and benefits of the determination to the Commonwealth, approved pharmacists and consumers.
The aim of this amendment is to ensure greater consultation and disclosure when changes are made to price disclosure cycles. The amendment applies to subsection 99ADH(2b) in the bill, which allows a day other than 1 April or 1 October to be prescribed. The amendment requires, when another day is prescribed, that the government must present a statement of the financial impact of the determination, including an analysis of the costs and benefits of the determination to the Commonwealth, approved pharmacists and consumers.
I have consulted with the Pharmacy Guild on this amendment. Their primary concern is not the principle of price disclosure but the way it has been implemented with so little consultation. This amendment will ensure that consultation.
I am grateful for the work of the office of the Minister for Health, the Hon. Peter Dutton, and his adviser, Mr Simpson. They have been very helpful in providing information to me and having a discussion about this. I will wait for the minister's response, but I think that the neatest and best way of ensuring consultation is via this amendment. I look forward to the minister's response.