Pharmacy plan gets green light

FEDERAL Health Minister Sussan Ley said it was important to introduce competition into the pharmacy sector when she announced the new Community Pharmacy Agreement on Monday.

Ms Ley said the government had in-principle support from pharmacists for a new agreement worth $18.9 billion over the next five years.

Part of this - $1.2 billion - would be invested in patient support programs, with a focus on rural and regional areas. Ms Ley said the agreement would also include the option for pharmacists to discount the patient co-payment by up to $1.

"This measure will help deliver money directly back into the pockets of patients each time they have to pay to pick up a script for medicine," she said.