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Barometer shows positive forecast for community pharmacy

Members of the pharmacy profession at the Barometer launch. Picture by Chris Ben

Members of the pharmacy profession at the Barometer launch. Picture by Chris Bennett

In summary:

  • Pharmacists are more confident about the future than has been anticipated according to a new measure of community pharmacy confidence – the Pharmacy Barometer
  • Produced in partnership between UTS and Cegedim Strategic Data, the Barometer found most community pharmacists see a service model as the foundation of future viability

Despite current economic and professional challenges, pharmacists are more confident about the future viability of their profession than has been anticipated, with most nominating a service orientation strategy as the foundation of that viability.

That's a key finding of Australia's first and only measure of community pharmacy confidence – the Pharmacy Barometer – produced in partnership between the UTS and Cegedim Strategic Data.

Launched last week at UTS, the Pharmacy Barometer will be a twice-yearly reading of the perceptions, attitudes, knowledge, experiences and behaviours of community pharmacists relating to the future of professional practice and the business of community pharmacy. It will also include measures of topical issues.

"The research shows that many community pharmacists want to move towards service, especially fee for service, so they can stop being dependant on the government for revenue," said Head of UTS School of Health and Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Charlie Benrimoj.

UTS Adjunct Professor John Montgomery said the pharmacy environment is rapidly changing, with more Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme price reductions occurring on the first of April.

"We are in the midst of major changes in the delivery and funding of pharmaceuticals and health in Australia that have the potential to significantly affect the pharmacy business model," Professor Montgomery said.

"This is not the first time the desire to pursue a service strategy has been reported, although a lack of knowledge in how to implement the strategy may exist. The issue of how to develop a service oriented pharmacy offer is an area for further research and certainly offers a new opportunity for differentiation in the industry."

In summary, the first Pharmacy Barometer reading found:

  • Community pharmacy confidence is reasonable overall, with a mean of 5.4 out of a possible confidence score of 10

  • While many pharmacists are bracing for a decrease in profits and valuation in the year after 1 April price cuts, by year three many anticipate a lessening of impact, with about 1 in 5 being uncertain about the future

  • Some see opportunity in greater generic substitution/discounts however an overwhelming majority see service orientation as the key opportunity.

"The aim of the Barometer and its associated reports is to cut through conjecture with independent research and analysis," Professor Benrimoj said. "UTS and Cegedim Strategic Data are in a unique position to define and report on the implications and impacts of current and future environmental and regulatory changes."

The full report will be available for purchase from early April from Cegedim Strategic Data. Contact: Naheen Brennan, Research Manager Tel: +61 (0)2 9310 8175

Nicole Scott

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